Zamboanga housing contractors warned

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (With a report from Sheila Covarrubias)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has warned contractors - involved in Zamboanga housing program for people displaced by rebel siege in 2013 – to speed up the project or face sanctions.

Singson was in Zamboanga City last week after Mayor Beng Climaco complained about the delay in the different housing projects.

Climaco, who heads the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC), passed a resolution on November 24 asking the national government to rescind contracts as well as to impose liquidated damages on construction firms with long overdue projects under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R).

Singson met with Climaco and representatives of various government agencies involved in the Z3R and discussed the long overdue projects. He and Climaco also inspected the housing projects.

“It is really in the shelter and the support facilities like water and sanitation where we encounter some problems,” Singson said.

The funding for the Z3R projects have been released to the government agencies concerned on housing program, water and sanitation, power and other infrastructure for tens of thousands of displaced residents, whose houses were destroyed during the three-week fighting between Moro rebels and security forces that killed and wounded some 300 people.

According to the report by the National Housing Authority, only 1,974 housing units from a total 6,500 have been completed, and that only 869 units had been legally handed over to the beneficiaries.

President Benigno Aquino previously said that the Z3R wound be completed by June 2015. And this was extended to March next year.

The reports also cited various reasons by contractors and construction firms for the delay of the projects and among these were the lack of materials and manpower, and the slow release of government permits and others alibis.

Singson said that sanctions will be taken against erring contractors, especially those who are beyond the 15% allowable slippage and they would be barred from future public works projects.

“We will not allow them to join our biddings in the DPWH,” he said, adding they have identified these contractors, but he did not publicly name them. Singson also did not say how much funding had been released for the Z3R project.

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