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Congressional inquiry on Z3R projects starts today


The Congressional Committee on Housing and Urban Development starts today its inquiry on the Zamboanga Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) Housing project for 2013 siege victims at the House of Representatives.

The hearing, to be attended by around forty (40) members of the committee, will be held at the Laurel Room starting at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Iloilo Representative Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, who recently visited Zamboanga City to inspect units under the program, chairs the committee.

The committee extended its invitation to Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco- Salazar, chairperson of the Local Interagency Committee on Housing (LIAC) and some department heads of the city government.

Also expected to be invited are Zamboanga and Manila-based officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA), the project’s implementor.

Sources said that the committee also invited Zamboanga-based contractors who are involved in the project and representatives of local utility companies.

Zamboanga residents can monitor the hearing live via local TV and radio station E-media, which sent a six-man team to cover the inquiry, led by its President Rey Bayoging.

The inquiry was opened after Benitez, along with Climaco-Salazar and Congressman Celso Lobregat fell into knee-deep water after the wooden footbridge that they were walking on collapsed.

The three officials, along with several others, fell into the murky waters surrounding Sitio Hongkong, Barangay Rio Hondo during an initial inspection conducted by Benitez on the housing projects.

In previous interviews, Benitez said that he would convene the committee immediately after the mishap.

For his part, Lobregat said that the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) should be blamed for not properly monitoring the implementation of the project. Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar chairs the LIAC.

Salazar, meanwhile, blamed the National Housing Authority (NHA) for building defective structures and facilities under the Z3R Housing Program.

The Zamboanga City local government filed a complaint against the housing officials after a housing unit under the Z3R program collapsed last February.

The NHA filed a complaint against the house owners for reportedly renovating the unit without the appropriate permit, causing it to collapse. (By Jemuel Mojica)

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