Dumaguete bans return of homes in riverbanks
DUMAGUETE CITY—The Dumaguete City government has banned the rebuilding of homes along the Banica River where houses were destroyed by the Dec. 17 flash floods at the height of Tropical Storm “Sendong.”
Dumaguete City Administrator William Ablong told the Inquirer on Wednesday that Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria has issued a “no return” order to the settlers whose homes were either damaged or washed away by the flash floods.
Ablong said they also ordered barangay captains of riverside communities to stop residents from rebuilding their homes.
At a meeting of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council last Monday, it was noted that most, if not all, of the damaged riverside homes had been rebuilt in the same hazard-prone sites in Barangays Batinguel, Junob, Candau-ay, 8, Bagacay, Tabuc-tubig, Taclobo and Cadawinonan where 450 homes were destroyed by floods.
Ablong said he had asked the Perpetual Help Credit Cooperative and the Dumaguete City Credit Cooperative to stop granting calamity loans that flood victims would simply use to rebuild their homes until the city had identified a suitable relocation site.
He said Gawad Kalinga (GK) has a piece of land that could be used as a site for core shelter units to be built out of the P26-million funding from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Each unit, worth P70,000 comes with one room and one toilet.
Ablong said they were negotiating with GK for the evacuees to set up tents in a 5,000-square meter lot near the GK Village.
The barangay captains were also asked to identify lands in their areas that could be used as temporary relocation sites.
Ablong said the city would rent the land through a lease contract for at least one year. Once the barangay captains establish contact with the landowner, the city would check if the land was not prone to floods or landslides, Ablong said.
All schools in flood-hit areas in Negros Oriental were opened to classes on Tuesday.
The Department of Education said evacuees who occupied the Batinguel Elementary School have left the premises but some 11 families were still camped in tents behind the Candau-ay Elementary School.
Rosalima Lacorte, of the City Schools Division Office, said the families stay in tents during the day and occupy three classrooms as sleeping quarters at night.
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