Substandard bunkhouses reportedly built for Haiyan victims: Where did the rest of the money go?

Philippine government thievery seems to remain alive and kicking, this time stealing victims of super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) blind! Reports are emerging of widespread delivery and building of substandard facilities to house the victims all over the devastated region. Safety and sanitation concerns have reportedly been raised by field officers of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) group on site.

Each room measures 8.64 square meters—roughly the size of two Ping-Pong tables—to be occupied by one family, said a DPWH paper, “shelter and reconstruction action plan.” The average size of a Filipino family is five, but in many cases there are as many as 10 individuals in one household.

A report by an international shelter group assisting the government in its relief efforts said the bunkhouses being developed by the DPWH in areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) were “noncompliant in many respects with internationally recognized standards and best practices.”

“There appears to be a number of contractors working at different sites. Standards and facilities appear to be somewhat different between different locations. It raises the question of whether contractors have different specifications for different sites, if they are using the same specifications, whether these are fully complied with in every location,” said the report made available to the Inquirer.

President BS Aquino takes time out for a photo-op while inspecting the controversial bunkhouses
President BS Aquino takes time out for a photo-op while inspecting the controversial bunkhouses
The CCCM report detailed how each bunkhouse estimated to be worth close to a million pesos if built to the right specifications are being built by contractors in some areas for less than Php200,000. According to a report sent by government engineers to “Rehab Czar” former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, this huge “savings” is likely achieved by using low-spec materials and omitting the common kitchen, four toilets and two bathrooms that each bunkhouse is supposed to be equipped with.

In a Situation Report published on the 13th November 2013 by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs the cost of construction of sufficient emergency housing facilities for the victims was estimated at more than USD45-million (about 1.8 billion pesos). This was at a time when casualty figures and impact estimates of the disaster were still being underestimated by the Philippine Government. In the second of three Strategic Objectives detailed by the report, a one-month timeframe for setting up “transitory shelter solutions” for the victims on site was clearly set.

It’s been two months since Haiyan hit, and these shelters are only now being constructed and, as reports would have it, being constructed to the borderline-criminal standards most Filipinos have come to expect of stuff delivered by their government.

Not surprisingly, foreign aid donors have declined to comment on these reports…

The Manila embassy of the UK, the largest donor by far, did not issue any comment. British aid for typhoon relief in the Philippines has reached P11.1 billion, including contributions from both the UK government and private individuals, the embassy said.

The UK has also vowed to support reconstruction in Eastern Visayas over the long haul.

The Manila delegation of the European Union also withheld comment pending its humanitarian aid department’s aid assessment this month.
The EU has so far pledged $26.8 million or P1.18 billion, according to the Philippine government portal’s Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAITH).

The US embassy in Manila also did not comment on the issue. A US embassy official privy to American assistance said the embassy “did not contribute any funding for the construction of bunkhouses.”

The prospects for a full rehab of the areas devastated by Haiyan has long been recognised as being dim and much of the relief goods and funds donated all but going to waste. This is in considering the Philippines’ mediocre track record of taking full advantage of otherwise abundant resources at its disposal. Early reports on the snail-paced and disorganised disaster response mounted by the Philippines immediately following early revelations of the full extent of the devastation wrought by Haiyan were quite telling. Even as vast sums of money and resources came pouring in to aid the relief effort, the astounding inefficiency of the Philippine bureaucracy was all but fatal so much so as to bring to serious question the recovery prospects of Tacloban City and other affected areas observes Kevin H.R. Villanueva, a university research scholar in international politics and human rights at the University of Leeds…

The argument to be made here is that there has been no single point person to whom accountability for immediate relief and the eventual task of rebuilding has been bestowed. The Filipino people will survive because it is in their character to counter and rise above adversity. But if we are all to genuinely learn and understand the lessons of this disaster, the question must be given a future perfect thought: Who will be in charge, if Tacloban and its people are to rise from the rubble?

The emergence of these most recent tales of Philippine-style thievery are as disheartening as they are unsurprising. Much of the system on which the majority of Filipinos depend on for essential services are crooked by design — engineered for maximum opaqueness to ensure a maximum “harvest” by the usual suspects: the Philippines’ deeply-entrenched parasitical class of traditional politicians and oligarchs.


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148 Comments on "Substandard bunkhouses reportedly built for Haiyan victims: Where did the rest of the money go?"

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Substandard housing + Substandard system + substandard president + substandard voter expectations for candidates + Substandard execution + substandard coverage of media = daang matuwid?? does not compute . I am sensing a theme.


Very predictable

I saw the rabbit hutches on tv.
They are a disgrace.

Someone has inflated the ‘paper’ value
Decreased the spec
Pocketed the money

No mention in media of who the contractor is – no doubt relation/ties to some local politician.

The Truth

To those who wish to keep spreading propaganda about our president, here is a article from Bloomberg a respected media establishment, how the world sees our president and his accomplisments so far.

Read it and weep with rage, I’m sorry but the truth is hard to accept if you are insignificant in society and hate the authority, and the establishment that grew, fed and educated you.

And please, attacking the messenger is expected here, but do have a read of this unbiased article will you? Unless you wish to try discredit also, hahaha!

The Truth
Here it is ______ Philippines’ Aquino Races the World’s Fastest Economies By William Mellor and Clarissa Batino Dec 4, 2013 9:01 AM ET 542 Comments Email Print Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Save Manila is the capital of a country blessed by an economic resurgence — and yet afflicted still by misery. … Read More The leader of the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino III, has a strong economy to build on as he faces a new… Read More A resident sells fruits and vegetables next to a public market destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. Photograph: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images Bonifacio Global City,… Read more »
Amir Al Bahr

^^Wala man link. Supot.

The Truth
Important to note: “So far, Benigno S. Aquino III — his full name — has largely proved true to his word and given the Philippines a second life of its own in the process. Since moving into an official residence known as the House of Dreams, following his election victory in June 2010, Aquino, 53, has overseen a national resurgence beyond the reveries of most investors.” “Bankrupted in the 1980s by dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines lagged far behind rival Asian economies, averaging just 3 percent annual growth from 1984 to 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Under Aquino,… Read more »
The Truth

It’s from bloomberg, and they are biased too in your eyes right?
Kinda pathetic how you label everything that isnt anti establishment biased..

Try dealing with the contents of the article instead of attacking the messenger, I know it’s hard, but you might find the truth in doing so.

PH – key performance indicators Poverty – UP Unemployment – UP Underemployment – UP Foreign direct investment – DOWN Dirty money outflows – UP Millenium development goals 2015 – FAIL TO ACHIEVE the facts speak for themselves. The pnoy aquino administration haven’t got a clue, had no impact on anything significant, and are resorting more and more to propaganda and outright lies to try and hide their failure. Paid hacks, manipulated surveys, and trolls only confirm the desperation which is now evident. Even a political professor said ” president aquino overpromised and has underachieved. A fatal combination” And members of… Read more »

another filipino pr petson.
next you will be quoting her sidekick norman aquino.
these are not bloomberg journalists, simply contributers. a big difference.
and i haven’t seen one fact yet.
and am economist so i think i know more than local journalists.
focus on the facts or are you incapable and incompetent.


facts are the enemy of trolls
debate a logical impossibility

Amir Al Bahr
Let me just repeat what I said in that other blog, for the trolls to see: “But of course. When something or someone praises one’s master, it’s absolute and must be taken as gospel. When something or someone else points out a flaw, it’s propaganda. Plus, there is something automatically wrong with that entity pointing out the flaw: it is politically motivated, it is overcompensating for a tragic flaw of its own, it is paid by a political opponent, blah blah blah. What’s more, popularity is taken as a reliable indicator of validity. These peculiar mindsets have been present in… Read more »

This article was written by Filipinos, very obvious just the days before the regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, they used the streets, the media, and even connived with some unlawful Filipinos such as NPA and other separatist groups to put into chaos the country and to be able to topple the strong man and impose their ambitions that are full of delusions and deceptions. They are trying to impose in every Filipinos that they are the savior of the Philippines. What a jerk, that is why there are many Filipinos now living in delusion.

Johnny Derp

The fact is that the international community now sees your president as an incompetent fool.
We have CNN to thank for that by the way since they have witnessed how incompetent he is in handling a disaster like yolanda.

Your days of trolling are numbered.
Better say your prayers troll.

Beawolf Agatte

@The Lies este The Truth FYI ABias-CBN, Oinkuirer, Rappler and The Philippine Star are not only Bias Press but Bayad Press as well. They are the Propagandists of this Yellow Admin.


Argumentum ad hominem. Sign of a small mind.

Hyden Toro

I would request that Mr. Mar Roxas would stand infront of a constructed Bunk House; for photo opportunity. Instead of a bag of onion on his shoulder. They can put a title at the bottom of his photo: “One million pesos Bunk House”.

We have a terminal illness of widespread corruption. All they do is steal. The “Daan matuwid” is now going to the “Bulsa”.
Where there is money; opportunists of all kinds will always be there. Politicians included. “Nakakahiya kayo” . Foreign Media is watching your thievery..


Anything over and above a “Habitat for Humanity” housing model would absolutely be ridiculous. I think the bunkhouses is a step up sufficient replacement for those sea side squatter colonies.

These are absolutely better than check vouchers to motels given to the Katrina victims in the US or makeshift tents to disaster victims in Africa.


When people are told that they are this and that over and over again, they end up believing it and remained, perhaps it’s time that good Filipino traits are highlighted. Harping perpetually on the negatives loses it intended positive impact. Endless negativity degenerates to rant that really only serves the ranters. After all, if change is the goal, they why keep stating the same things over and over again then expect a different result?


Surprise, did anyone really expect anything else from a substandard country?

Johnny Derp

It’s already been 107 comments and not one of the trolls have answered the question asked in this article.
Why build half-assed houses for the victims of yolanda?
Where did the donations from foreign countries go?
Why are the trolls so desperate to protect their falling president?