Parañaque wants to keep informal settlers

Bea Cupin
'Our preference is to provide them in-city relocation so that they are not totally displaced from their current sources of livelihood,' says Mayor Edwin Olivarez

DANGER ZONES. The Parañaque city government begins talks with informal settler families as the national government's relocation and flood control plan kicks in. Photo by EPA/Francis R. Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – As Malacañang moves to clear Metro Manila waterways of dwellers, the city government of Parañaque is finding ways to keep the informal settlers.

In a statement on Tuesday, August 13, Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the city government would begin talks with informal settler families ahead of relocation plans in line with the national government’s flood control program

“We have already identified possible relocation sites outside Parañaque for our informal settler families but, as much as possible, we will offer and provide them in-city relocation,” said Olivarez. 

One possible relocation site is in Trece Martires City in Cavite, where former informal settlers from Parañaque had been transferred.

Olivarez added that they would make sure planned relocation sites would have sources of livelihood aside from basic infrastructure “so that they would not be tempted to return to danger zones along murky rivers and esteros.”

Many of the metro’s informal settlers return to their old ways even after relocation because of the absence of work opportunities.  

“Our preference is to provide them in-city relocation so that they are not totally displaced from their current sources of livelihood and their children’s schoolings are not disrupted,” added Olivarez. The city government did not specify where informal settlers could be relocated within the city. 

The Parañaque river is part of the second batch of waterways scheduled for clearing by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Earlier in August, 87 families living along a San Juan city estero (waterway) voluntarily left their homes for a relocation site in Bulacan

The relocation of informal settler communities living along Metro Manila’s waterways is part of the national government flood control master plan. Eight Metro Manila waterways that needed to cleared by year’s end were pinpointed in June. 

The relocation plan, spearheaded by Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, will affect nearly 20,000 families – a fraction of the 100,000 families living near waterways that government plans to relocate in the long-term–

Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.