About 16,000 families living along Metro Manila waterways are up for relocation under a plan being devised by three government agencies and set for implementation in 2013.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino met on Wednesday to form a technical working group that would carry out the plan as part of a long-term solution to perennial flooding in the metropolis.
Speaking to reporters, Roxas declined to give a specific timetable, but said that “by the next rainy season, we should have already addressed this. There will be bigger improvements every rainy season.”
Roxas said some 16,000 families are now living along waterways and esteros in the metropolis, most of them along San Juan, Pasig, Tullahan, Manggahan, Tripa de Gallina and Maricaban rivers, he added.
Singson said the informal settlers along these six waterways will be prioritized in the relocation as part of a P5-billion flood control master plan.
Tolentino said local government units will have their own timetable for clearing the waterways. Navotas, for example, had already sought MMDA’s help in the relocation, he said.
According to the MMDA chairman, 80 to 85 percent of the estero dwellers had agreed to be relocated.
“These families know they are already in the program. We are already conducting social preparations,” Roxas added. “We expect them to understand that the relocation is also meant to care for them. They are at Ground Zero if these waterways swell.”