Yolanda survivors hit planned demolition of homes in coastal areas
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Some survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) protested on the steps of the Sangguniang Panlungsod here on Wednesday, November 16, resisting the planned demolition of their homes.
The families are from coastal barangays (villages) in Tacloban, the city hardest hit by Yolanda in 2013.
Joli Torella of the non-governmental organization Urban Poor Associates told Rappler that they received an advisory stating the Tacloban city government would demolish structures in "no-build zones."
Torella said the plan would lead to the eviction of around 1,000 families from Tacloban City's coastal areas per week, particularly in Magallanes and San Jose districts.
Those who protested outside the Sangguniang Panlungsod said the proposed relocation sites in northern barangays are too far from the city center.
They added that there would be no livelihood opportunities for them, and they would have no access to water and electricity.
Some also believe it is too early for the relocation as the resettlement sites are supposedly not ready yet.
"Minamadali kami nila na ilipat kasi binigyan sila ni President Duterte hanggang December 2016 na maayos ang lahat at mailipat kami sa norte kahit na alam nila na hindi pa handa doon ang lugar," said Belinda Ginu-o, a resident of Barangay 90 in Baybay, San Jose.
(They're rushing our transfer because President Duterte gave them only until December 2016 to complete the distribution of shelter aid. So they want to transfer us to the north already even if they know the resettlement site is not yet ready.)
"Hindi kami umaayaw at nagrereklamo sa paglipat sa norte. Basta lang maayos doon sa pupuntahan naming lugar," she added.
(It's not that we're rejecting or complaining about the transfer to the north. We just want the resettlement site to be ready.)
President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the fast-tracking of shelter aid when he visited Tacloban City last November 8 for the 3rd anniversary of Yolanda.
"I am not satisfied. As a matter of fact, it's a – it's BS to me," the President had said, lamenting the slow pace of rehabilitation in typhoon-hit areas. (READ: IN NUMBERS: 3 years after Super Typhoon Yolanda)
Duterte directed Vice President Leni Robredo, chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to oversee the implementation of housing projects for Yolanda survivors.
Leticia Obillo, who lives in Barangay 89 in Payapay, San Jose, said she hoped for a decent resettlement site.
"Nagpapasalamat kami ha Ginoo hito nga housing project, pero duro na ito hin kamaiha, unta ira na ito tapuson ngan upayon," said Obillo.
(Thank God for the housing project, but it is a waiting game. We've been waiting longer than we initially expected. I just wish it were run better.)
Duterte is expected to return to Tacloban City in December to check on the condition of Yolanda survivors again.
Meanwhile, Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin said local officials remain committed to the Yolanda recovery efforts and would coordinate with community leaders to address the concerns of the people. – Rappler.com