By Lalaine Marcos
ORMOC CITY – Mayor Rich-ard Gomez here has asked the National Housing Author-ity (NHA) here to demolish some 16 housing units from the permanent relocation site in Brgy. Gaas, this city, after an investigation into a report showed that substandard hol-low blocks were used in its construction.
The questionable units are the rowhouses in Block 3 to 7 of the 190-unit relocation site.
The relocation site, when finished, is for the July 6, 2017 earthquake victims in the same barangay. It is being constructed by the PhintecStar Construction Inc.
As of presstime, almost 100 units have already been con-structed.Mayor Gomez said that “bik-tima na nga ng lindol ang mga taong ito, mabibiktima na naman if we allow this kind of substan-dard construction. I cannot allow that to happen in Ormoc, to my constituents.”
The relocation site is sup-posed to be a “model” for a new NHA design with “loftable” rowhouses. It is taller than the usual, and roomier. It was de-signed to the request of Mayor Gomez for government to build bigger relocation houses than the usual “matchboxes”. The mayor believes that if government makes the houses feel like home, it will lessen the chances of the occupants abandon-ing them later.
In a meeting with the NHA and the contractor, May-or Gomez said he ordered the probe after he was handed a video of brown-colored hollow blocks crumbling when picked up in the site.
The investigation was conducted by Engr. Roy Capala of the CEO, Engr. Jim-myleo J. Agapito of OBO, together with city councilor Tommy Serafica, Gaas councilor Rosalia Magno, in the presence of Phintec-Star foreman Robert Cabilangan.
The NHA, represented by their com-munication relations officer Reeya May Cornillas, expressed her surprise at the report and video, saying that PhintecStar is one of their best contractors. She prom-ised that NHA will immediately act on the report.
Engr. Capala said that during their in-vestigation, there seems to have been a collapse in the quality control mechanisms of the contractor. The contractor ordered the questionable hollow blocks from Kananga, Leyte and that there was also no project engineer on site when it was delivered.
In their findings, they said, “(The) Hol-low blocks are easily broken because of its brittleness Because of this, it may endanger the life (sic) of its occupants.” They added that the required strength of the “load bearing” hollow blocks should be 1900 psi, which the hollow blocks “do not have.”The contractor’s representative, on the other hand, committed to demolish the questionable units as recommended by the OBO and CEO.