By Arlie O. Calalo
01/25/2012 [ tribune.net.ph ]
Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and key Quezon City officials led by Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte yesterday launched the city’s socialized housing project for the informal settlers in Barangay Kaligayahan.
Being the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Binay was the guest speaker during the simple ceremonies which paved the way for one of the the local government’s pro-poor housing programs called Bistekville II that is located in Sitio Looban, Selecta Compound.
Bistekville II is one of Bautista’s dream housing projects aimed at addressing the problem on blighted areas in the city to make it more competitive in tourism and infrastructure development.
The secretary to the mayor, Tadeo Palma, said Phinma which is the private partner company of the city government in building the Bistekville II, is set to construct more than 800 housing units in the Arce property in the same village.
“Mayor Bautista indeed wants to fast track the development of his socialized housing projects that will provide decent resettlement areas for the city’s underprivileged residents,” Palma said.
The QC socialized housing project is a public-private partnership (PPP) which President Aquino is pushing in line with his Matuwid na Daan advocacy.
Another socialized housing project of the QC government is the Bistekville I in Barangay Payatas. This is a housing project in PPP with Habitat for Humanity which is building 400 housing units of the city’s informal settlers, according to the mayor.
“The problem of poverty and informal settlements in QC is huge. But, we can help make this challenge manageable through the pathways of collaboration and partnership,” the mayor said.
In another development, Bautista lauded the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the P106.2 million plunder and graft charges filed against him almost two years ago.
Emerging from the launching of the housing project, Bautista told members of the Quezon City Press Club that the case filed before the 2010 local elections by one Nicanor Royo Salamea Jr. of Payatas was just a demolition job against him by a political opponent who wanted to ruin his good reputation as a mayoralty candidate.
He said the junking of the anti-graft case against him and his former administrative officer Ligaya Montallana arising from alleged questionable food purchases for QC Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, also known as the Tahanan, and for other public service projects in 2009 has finally cleared his name and reputation which he built up for many years both in showbiz and politics.
In the resolution of graft investigation and prosecution officer Lolita Simeon Micu-Bravo, it was pointed out that the case against Bautista had no probable cause, saying that the food purchases were all made in accordance with the law.
Micu-Bravo said that under the circumstance, no party, including the QC government, was prejudiced and no party was given unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference. There was likewise no bad faith or inexcusable negligence on the part of the respondents, she said.