MOA inked to ease Muslim families’ transfer
MANILA, Philippines — To address the concerns of Muslim informal settlers living beside Pasig River and its tributaries, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) on Wednesday signed a partnership with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA), an oversight committee would be created by the commissions to “monitor and ascertain compliance parameters and guidelines” for Muslim communities before, during and after resettlement.
The most recent census by the National Housing Authority showed that over 900 Muslim families were living along three esteros in Manila alone. Estero de San Miguel, Estero de Quiapo and Estero dela Reina were heavily polluted tributaries linked to Pasig River.
Information on similar communities in other areas like Pasig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City still need to be gathered, the PRRC said.
The affected families, however, will be forced to relocate once the government implements the 3-meter easement requirement for waterways in urban zones.
Recognizing the different cultures and practices under the Islamic religion, PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia said the partnership, which he called “historic,” would address gaps in communication.
“You cannot simply enter their communities without permission,” he said in an interview. “Instead of approaching the leaders of local groups and tribes, we decided to speak with the NCMF so that the commission itself would give the order to the local elders.”
Goitia said “social preparations” must also be put in place for local governments that would be sending and receiving the resettled families.
He added that they expected some resistance from the families who would be relocated, considering that they had already established themselves in Metro Manila.
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