Manila squatters to be relocated
By Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star) Updated August 05, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Squatters in the city of Manila will soon be relocated out of harm’s way, Mayor Alfredo Lim said yesterday.
Lim made the announcement shortly after President Aquino made known his plans when he visited an evacuation center in Vitas, Tondo on Friday.
Aquino said the government was trying to relocate the 1.4 million families or more than five million informal settlers in Metro Manila.
He said 560,000 of these families are in Manila, of which 130,000 to 140,000 families are living in identified danger areas.
Aquino noted most of the squatter families in Vitas had been evacuated after barges hit their shelters along the shores of Manila Bay during the monsoon surge spawned by typhoon "Gener" last Wednesday.
Lim said the Manila city government has a project with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to relocate all of the city informal settlers to relocation sites in Rodriguez, Rizal, Calauan in Laguna, Trece Martires in Cavite and Bulacan.
Lim said the President has approved P10 billion to finance the relocation of the squatters.
This would include the relocation of squatters now staying in different evacuation centers in Manila, he said.
Lim added P5 billion was allocated for NHA for housing relocation in Metro Manila.
About 6,000 units are already completed in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
Lim said the government would comply with the law to conduct a dialogue with the informal settlers and inform them first of the need to transfer them to another site.
He said there should also be an agreement between the government and the squatters over the relocation.
But we have to face reality that some groups try to block the projects,” Lim said. “The houses are really beautiful and these are complete with facilities.”
Aquino said there were in-city relocation projects while others were being urged to go back to the provinces and provided jobs or livelihood.
The President said the government was also ensuring that relocation sites would have schools, health centers, and other basic facilities.
Aquino said the number of typhoons passing through the Philippines every year – 23 to 24 in a year – was no joke and this would make residents in danger areas problematic the whole time. – With Aurea Calica