DILG removes 4,400 families from danger zones
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government relocated about 4,400 informal settler families (ISFs) living along major esteros (creeks) and waterways in Metro Manila.
This is part of the city’s Integrated Flood Plan presented during the Flood Summit held at the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 8, according to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, stressing the importance of the permanent evacuation of these informal settlers.
According to the DILG, nearly 100,000 families reside in danger zones along Metro Manila. 60,000 of them are living specifically along the capital’s minor and major waterways.
Recently, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) prioritized 8 major waterways to be cleaned up primarily. There are 19, 440 families living in these areas.
The department spends P50 billion in ISFs relocation, according to DILG Undersecretary Bimbo Fernandez.
The government added a temporary relocation fund of P18,000 to be distributed at P1,500 a month for affected families if there is still no available resettlement areas for them. Evacuated families have availed of this rental assistance.
Near-site and on-site relocation
To keep ISFs from leaving their far-flung relocation sites, the DILG constructed near-site or on-site medium rise buildings near the areas where the they used to live.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier instructed that relocation efforts should prevent the displacement of families from their sources of livelihood and schools.
Based on a survey, at least 80% are willing to be relocated while 23% were against it.
“In fact, sila mismo ang nagmamadali dahil sila yung taunang nakakaranas ng pagbaha. Nawa-wash out yung kanilang mga naipundar,” Roxas said. (In fact, they are the ones who want to relocate soon since they are the ones experiencing the flood every year. They lose everything they’ve saved up through the years).
Cause of floods
A study conducted by the DPWH, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showed that the speed of the water running along the waterways is what allows it to flush out into the Manila bay.
Roxas explained that if the water slows down due to structures blocking its path, the water will take time to flush out and would back up and cause floods in other areas in Metro Manila.
Waterways need to be free from constructions. Roxas said that until a full stretch of water is cleared, there would be no benefit. – Rappler.com
Adrienne Villaruel is a Rappler intern. She is an incoming senior Communication and Media Studies student at the University of the Philippines Visayas.