The golden rule and the substandard and overpriced temporary bunkhouses for Yolanda survivors

It doesn’t take rocket science to be able to tell the difference between substandard and decent or up to standard.  Taxpayers, Filipinos and foreign donors, need not know calculus to know the value they get from community projects they are paying for. 

I would be ashamed to be in this picture which taxpayers here and around the world can see.  Majority of Filipino taxpayers are not this thoughtless.  This substandard housing project misrepresents the desires of the Filipino majority. Those affected by Yolanda have lost so much, everything, everyone in the family, and for public officials to have allowed these folks to be packed in like rats into these?

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Image on lower right is a traditional Siberian timber house. Photo credits: Philippine Star, mountainworld on Pinterest.

These bunkhouses are, collectively, the first grave mistake of the new year in as far as the reconstruction of Yolanda-devastated areas is concerned and it’s not even mid-January yet.  Dismal.  Once again, pronouncements to build back better from late last year have not been translated into action.  (Second is the assurance that electricity will have been restored on Christmas Eve last year.)

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Photo credits: Rappler, GMA News

DPWH which has the final and official say on the matter was reported to have said the houses are up to standard.  But I/NGOs with housing programs, individual experts (e.g. engineers, architects, planners), and the public (who have houses of their own) are not fooled.  Any rent- or mortgage-paying adult can tell that the allocated amount of PHP900,000 (est. USD21,500) for one 8.64 sq.m. temporary bunkhouse-type unit is scandalous.

Let’s suppose there are no set standards for housing.  Let’s suppose Mr. Singson leaves his castle for a week to break in a unit.  The standard then would be one’s reply to the question, is this the kind of place I’d like to live in 24/7 for 365 days or maybe longer?  Will I be comfortable spending days and nights, rain or shine, in it?  Will I be happy residing in it?  In other words, do we want for others what we want for ourselves?  The golden rule is the standard anytime, you see.

Is there hope at all for this largely Catholic country?

(Note: The Project signage says DPWH Region X (Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao) is the implementing Office, why? Cebu is nearer to the Eastern Visayas Region. And is the regional office in Tacloban nonexistent? This set up, in LGU language, means somebody’s trespassing. The Project is a national government initiative but why is a regional office in far off Mindanao going in?)

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