Cebu City

Cebu City needs housing for 20,000 informal settler families 

John Sitchon

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Cebu City needs housing for 20,000 informal settler families 

HOUSING. The city plans to build at least 200 medium-rise buildings for displaced families.

Cebu City PIO

Mayor Mike Rama plans to build 200 to 300 medium-rise buildings for families displaced by river-clearing operations before the end of his term in 2025

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu City needs socialized housing units for 20,000 informal settler families (ISF) who will be displaced by river-clearing operations in line with the city’s flood-control efforts.

“We already sought the help of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),” Lawyer Jerome Castillo, special assistant to Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, told Rappler.

Rama plans to build 200 to 300 medium-rise buildings (MRBs) for displaced families before the end of his term in 2025, Castillo said. The mayor has also reached out to private companies to help the city meet its housing requirement.

The city government has already identified 14,000 illegal structures for demolition, which would allow Task Force Gubat sa Baha, led former environment secretary Roy Cimatu, to proceed with the rehabilitation of riverbanks and waterways.

Cebu City Planning and Development Office head Joseph “Yumi” Espina announced in a media forum on Thursday, October 6, that the city has plans for a three-hectare housing development in the South Road Properties (SRP) with 20 to 30 buildings.

“We are now looking for an investor from the private sector who can build it for us,” Espina said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

A key priority of Rama is the rehabilitation of Cebu City’s major waterways: the Bulacao River, Kinalumsan River, Tagunol Creek, Guadalupe River, Mahiga River, Lahug River, Estero Pari-an, and the Butuanon River.

His predecessor, the late Edgardo Labella wanted “engineering solutions” instead of “drastic measures” against establishments encroaching into the three-meter easement zones of waterways.

In August, the city experienced severe floods which local environmental experts have linked to the poor conditions of the city’s rivers.

Two days after Cimatu announced plans to dredge the city’s waterways, the Butuanon River overflowed on Septmber 9, affecting at least 20 barangays in Metro Cebu.

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Gerry Carillo, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said in a statement that businesses will have to voluntarily dismantle their structures along the rivers or the city “will move for their demolition.” 

‘Investment begging’

Earlier in June, Cebu Landmasters gave the city a P115-million MRB in Barangay Lorega–San Miguel to help provide homes for displaced families.

This five-story MRB occupies a 1,350-sqm site and can cater to 100 families at a monthly rent of about P1,000.

Rama’s series of “investment begging” visits to Metro Manila, raised P1.3 billion, with P575 million reserved for the construction of MRBs, Rama’s secretary Collin Rosell said. –

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