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P3.38B released to relocate Metro Manila’s estero families

The amount covers the deficit and cash requirements of constructing housing projects outside the NCR for the months of September and October

MOVING OUT. An initial batch of more than 80 families were relocated from San Juan City to housing projects in Bulacan as part of government efforts to keep civilians away from disaster areas earlier this year. Photo by EPA/Rolex dela Pena

MANILA, Philippines – An additional P3.38 billion has been released by the national government to implement its program that relocates informal settlers from Metro Manila’s “danger areas.”

In a statement on Tuesday, December 3, the Departmend of Budget and Management (DBM) said the amount will cover the deficit and cash requirements of constructing housing projects outside the National Capital Region for the months of September and October. The amount was sourced from savings from the 2011 fiscal year, the DBM said.

Some P3.82 million was earlier released by the DBM to develop 12,941 off-city lots, where 12,291 housing units will be made. The additional P3.38 billion will also cover the development of 3,086 housing lots, as well as housing units.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier unveiled plans to move 20,000 families living near Metro Manila esteros (waterways) as part of the national government’s flood control master plan. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) are heading the effort.

Eight major esteros were identified for clearing by year’s end.

“The Aquino administration still prioritizes the implementation of housing projects and the relocation of ISFs from pre-determined danger areas, especially because we continue to experience the effects of the rainy season and the risks associated with storms and weather disturbances,” said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad in the statement.

Abad added that moving the families would avoid potential loss of families and lives caused by flooding in the danger areas.

By 2014, the housing program will result in the construction of 24,851 new housing units, said the budget department. As of posting, some 6,511 families have moved out of “danger areas” to relocations sites outside Metro Manila.

Recently, the program came under fire after Senator Nancy Binay questioned the DILG’s P700-milliion proposed budget for the program, saying the NHA has the mandate for housing programs. Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, heads the NHA, while the DILG is headed by Mar Roxas, whom VP Binay defeated in the 2010 elections. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com

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