In CamSur town, relocation tough but safety prime concern | Inquirer News

In CamSur town, relocation tough but safety prime concern

/ 01:15 AM January 20, 2012

Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte has ordered the permanent relocation of 145 families living in high-risk areas along the shores of Lake Bato in Bato, Camarines Sur.

Villafuerte said the people have been living in tents for more than six months now after they were forcibly evacuated in July last year at the height of Tropical Storm “Juaning” to prevent a disaster that could have resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives in Bato.

The evacuees were residents of Barangays Santiago, San Rafael, Divina Pastora and Sta. Cruz.


They were initially housed in public schools but were transferred to tents put up by the provincial government inside the school campuses.


They were provided food and non-food items, as well as basic amenities such as latrines, bathing cubicles, cooking counters, trash bins and water pumps.

“The evacuees would no longer be allowed to go back to their homes,” the governor said on Wednesday.

He said the people would be given new and permanent homes in sites to be identified and purchased by the provincial government.

He said while the forced evacuation and the impending relocation were unpopular to many of the evacuees, the provincial government had no choice but do it or further expose the people to danger.

“As they say, it is better to be safe than sorry,” said the governor.

“We knew when we decided to conduct the forced evacuation that it would be unpopular and would inconvenience the residents, but we would not have it any other way because lives were at stake,” he said.


He admitted that initially, he heard grumbling and complaints from the evacuees because of the inconvenience that the forced evacuation caused, but continuing dialogue between provincial officials and the evacuees helped clear the air.

“In hindsight, what seemed to be a decision that was obviously politically unpopular proved to be the right one and a blessing in disguise, especially in the light of the recent disasters that befell Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and Bukidnon in Mindanao,” Villafuerte said.

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