Waterway squatters to be relocated on site

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President Aquino has ordered the construction of on-site or near-site resettlement areas for informal settlers living along waterways in Metro Manila.

In a statement on Wednesday, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said the government would implement the relocation policy of the President, who also approved the release of P10 billion for the effort to provide alternative homes for families removed from so-called “danger zones” in the metropolis.

“President Aquino himself gave instructions that all relocation strategies of the government agencies should, as a top priority, prevent the displacement of families from their source of livelihood and schools,” Roxas said.

“The President sees this near-site or on-site relocation as a solution,” he added.

The interior secretary said the government had identified several slum areas located along the tributaries of Manila Bay as danger zones.

“People living there are most prone to disasters brought about by sudden silt and deposit flows that occur mostly during the rainy season,” Roxas said.

Citing 2011 data from the Metro Manila Development Authority, Roxas said a total of 104,219 families were located in high-risk areas in Metro Manila.

Of these, about 19,440 families were identified to be living along eight waterways “that are deemed very hazardous,” he said.

“The President wants us to focus on these families. He wants ‘zero casualties’ during the rainy season,” Roxas said.

He said the government had already started the construction of a prototype housing project for about 120 families living along the Estero de San Miguel in Manila.

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