MANILA, Philippines – The government aims to move 11,000 informal settler families in Metro Manila by August, to provide them with safer housing and help solve the worsening flooding problem in the capital.
The goal is to move families living within 3 meters of waterways, and to construct anti-flooding structures in the space that will be cleared by the relocation. (READ: How do you solve the Metro’s flood problem?)
On Wednesday, February 19, President Benigno Aquino III inspected the model unit of the micro Medium-Rise Building on Estero de San Miguel for informal settlers, which he said is the mark of change and progress.
“We are ending the cycle of not caring for your welfare. We aim to provide 167 informal settler families from Estero de San Miguel decent housing. You can be assured that whether your relocation be on-site or off-site, the government will make sure there are opportunities for your family,” he said.
He said the relocation sites will be safe, close to transportation hubs, and will have its own electricity and water lines.
The President also said the new housing will ensure clean and clear waterways and a long-term solution to the flooding in the Metro – a problem worsened by illegal housing by river banks and esteros.
“If before you were neglected, now you have a government you can depend on to uplift your lives. If before you were filled with fear whenever the storms came, now you can be confident your housing will withstand the strongest calamities. If before you often got sick because of insects breeding in the dirty esteros, now your healthy community can take advantage of opportunities,” he said.
The government has allotted P10 billion to relocate those living in danger zones, but is still in the process of negotiating prices with landowners of the spaces where they want the new housing built.
Under Oplan Likas of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), about 3,400 families have been successfully relocated to safer grounds, said Aquino. Last year however, the government said it would move 20,000 families by year-end.
Aquino also urged beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunities given to them by a government that is working to put them on a path to progress.
“We are opening the doors to opportunities but it is you who needs to tread your own paths to success, you must pick the fruits borne by our reforms and programs the government has worked hard to bring to you,” he said. – Rappler.com