(Lawmakers ask:) What happened to millions collected from IDPs under Z3R program? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 May 2018 12:10

Who benefited from collecting a reported P6,500 electricity fee from each beneficiary under the Z3R program?


This question capped a four-hour long congressional inquiry last Wednesday on the Z3R Housing program focusing on defects, negligence and alleged irregularities regarding the government project.


During the final hour of the inquiry however, the issue on the collection of P6,500 from each beneficiary under the government housing program for electrical expenses surfaced.


A housing beneficiary who was present during the inquiry said that the amount of P6,500 was taken from a P10,000 financial assistance given to them by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


During the distribution of the cash assistance by a DSWD representative, another person  met the beneficiary downstairs and took P6,500 from the P10,000 that was earlier given to the beneficiary.


“Sa may City Housing binigay ang pera,” said the housing beneficiary.


Congressional Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Albee Benitez said that the receipt had the marking Z3R at the top.


The question of who received the amount prompted lengthy answers from inquiry resource persons,  resulting to rumors of a possible cover up.


A moment of tension was felt when First District Congressman Celso Lobregat questioned Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco- Salazar pointblank if the matter had been tackled by the Local Interagency Committee on Housing (LIAC).


Salazar, who is Chairperson of the committee, said that the matter is still under investigation.


Salazar gave the same reply when asked about the collection by other congressmen.


City Legal Officer Atty. Jesus Carbon said that Barangay Rio Hondo through its officials passed a resolution for the amount to be collected from housing beneficiaries at the Z3R project in Rio Hondo.


Rio Hondo Barangay Chairman Rozdi Mukarram countered that he was advised to pass the resolution for Rio Hondo beneficiaries to have electrical connection.


Mukarram, who denied anything to do with the collection, said that the amount was not only taken from residents of Sitio Hongkong in Rio Hondo but from beneficiaries from housing projects under Z3R in other barangays.


There are approximately 8,000 families under the Z3R program, resulting to P52-million in collections from all program beneficiaries.


It was not however clear how many families paid the P6,500 to have their electricity connected.


Zamboanga Electric Cooperative General Manager Engr. Ed Ancheta denied having received the money saying that an amount was appropriated by the national government for electrification of houses under the Z3R program.


The amount of P53-million for 30 projects under the Z3R however was not downloaded but temporary facilities were installed due to public pressure.


National Housing Authority (NHA) Manager Al-Khwarizmi Indanan denied having authorized the collection of P6,500 per housing beneficiary.


Indanan however said that he is not privy to information about the collection.


Benitez, meanwhile, proposed to have the matter discussed during the next committee hearing when all persons connected to the issue are present.  (Remus Ong)