Zamboanga mayor blames housing agency for bridge accident

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Mayor Beng Climaco was inspecting projects under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) when a portion of a wooden footbridge collapsed.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco blames the National Housing Authority (NHA) for a bridge mishap at a housing site.

Climaco was inspecting projects under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) in Brgy. Mariki when a portion of a wooden footbridge collapsed.

The Mayor fell into the water with Negros Occidental Representative Albee Benitez, Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat, and other local officials.

In an interview on CNN Philippines Balitaan, Climaco said what happened to them was not the only mishap in the housing area.

"A few minutes later, another bridge fell in that same site," she explained.

Climaco said she does not want these to happen to recipients of the units.

"We became ourselves, first-hand victims of the utilization of substandard materials and building projects," she said.

In an earlier statement, said the incident shows the poor state of housing projects under the NHA's regional office.

"The Z3R Housing Project was designed to give decent homes to those poor residents who were greatly victimized during the 2013 Zamboanga siege, and now they are again victims, this time, of NHA's ineptitude," she said.

She added she has appealed to the House Committee of Housing and Urban Develoipment, which Benitez chairs, to investigate the NHA regional office.

"Let those found at fault face justice," she said.

Meanwhile, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) said the incident underscores the gravity of the housing situation in the country.

"NHA officials seem to have gotten a taste of their own medicine as they experienced first-hand the perils in government housing sites," KADAMAY said in a statement.