Informal settlers under a bridge await relocation

Rappler.com
They live under the bridge to survive. Now the government is offering informal settlers along the Tullahan river a chance to move to houses safe from floods.

MANILA, Philippines – They live under the bridge to survive. Now the government is offering informal settlers along the Tullahan river a chance to move to houses safe from floods. Raisa Serafica reports.

To motorists, this bridge is just another road. 

But to Juliana Paquibot and her neighbors, it’s home.
Juliana is one of 1,400 informal settler families living by the Tullahan River in Valenzuela City. 
She earns three hundred twenty-five pesos a day as a janitor, way below the daily minimum wage of P450, barely enough for basic needs.
So despite the danger, Juliana decided to settle under the bridge.

JULIANA PAQUIBOT, INFORMAL SETTLER: 

Eh dun kasi, kahit squatter, nag-uupa kami ng 1,500. Ang liit-liit lang ng kwarto dun kasi mas puntahan siya sa tubig kaysa dito. Nag-evacuate-an kami, diyan kami sa kalsada natutulog. Kasi yung inupahan namin, itinangay yung pinakalikod niya. Halos kaming lahat naman.

(Even if I rent in a squatter area, it still costs P1,500. The room is small outside because water directly flows there. They say it is also dangerous to live here under the bridge but I haven’t experienced it yet. Nevertheless, we have nowhere else to go.)

But if plans push through she’ll no longer be at risk every time it rains and the river swells.
The government plans to relocate settlers in waterways in Metro Manila as part of its anti-flood masterplan. The National Housing Authority says 19,400 families will be relocated before the year ends.

CHITO CRUZ, GENERAL MANAGER, NATIONAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION: 

Maganda na yung ating mga units. Nothing comparable to what they used to, yung dating mga relocation sites natin, maganda na ngayon. And we’re actually proud of what we have, the new relocation site that we’ve been building for them.

(Our housing units are good and they’re nothing comparable to the old relocation sites. And we’re actually proud of our new relocation sites that we’ve been building for them.)

NHA says that Juliana Paquibot and her neighbors will be moved to a relocation site called Disiplina Village, also in Valenzuela City. 
To Juliana, this is good news.

JULIANA PAQUIBOT, INFORMAL SETTLER: 

Mas mabuti pa yun eh, meron kang bahay, makakapagnegosyo ka pa. Kaysa sa mangupahan pa. (Being relocated is better since we will be given a house. We could even run our own business. It’s better than having to rent an apartment.)

The village is composed of 25 buildings that can house 600 families.
With their new houses, the danger and the fear will all be water under the bridge.
Raisa Serafica, Rappler, Manila.

Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.