Saturday, April 23, 2011

Q.C. starts mass relocation of informal settlers

QUEZON CITY, April 22 (PIA) - The Quezon City government’s mass relocation program for informal settlers has started.

Informal settlers whose houses were destroyed during a violent demolition at 6th and 7th Streets in Barangay Mariana last year were the first to be relocated by the city within the National Housing Authority (NHA) housing project at Southville 8 at Barangay San Isidro in Rodriguez, Rizal.

The city government, on orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, has contracted shuttle buses to transport the relocatees to their new homes.

To make sure that their basic needs are met, the Mayor also gave the assurance that the city government will shoulder payments for the sub-electric meters, which is estimated at P1,000 per family per connection.

As much as possible, the Mayor wanted the city’s informal settlers to be relocated together with their neighbors to the same site so that they will not feel displaced.

QC intends to resettle before the beginning of the new school year in June some 1,500 urban poor families occupying danger zones and high-risk areas.

Informal settlers encroaching on the sidewalks and road right-of-way at Barangays Santol, South Triangle and Central, including waterways along Barangays Damayang Lagi and Tatalon, are offered priority in the relocation program.

Even urban poor families whose houses were razed by fire early this week along BIR Road are also provided relocation slots at the NHA resettlement project.

Prior to the implementation of the city’s mass relocation program, the city’s socialized housing task force headed by secretary to the mayor Tadeo Palma, organized a series of dialogue with QC’s 142 barangays to ensure that the city’s clearing operations will be carried out peacefully.

There is a continuing effort from Mayor Bautista to adopt a meaningful development plan to provide more livable communities for QC residents, especially informal settlers living in danger areas such as sidewalks, roadways, waterways, under transmission lines, and on water pipelines.

To date, the city government has already invited members of the church to a consultative meeting to address concerns on QC’s socialized housing program.

“The problem of poverty and informal settlements in Quezon City is huge. But, we can help make this challenge manageable through the pathways of collaboration and teamwork among ourselves,” the Mayor said.

According to the urban poor affairs office, headed by Ramon Asprer, there are about 28,731 informal settler families living in identified danger areas in QC.

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