City in Bulacan restricts relocation amid pandemic
CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, Philippines — Local officials have restricted the transfer of informal settlers from Metro Manila to a government housing project in the city as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mayor Arthur Robes sent personnel of the public order and security office to Sandigan ng Maralitang Pilipino (SMP) subdivision in Barangay Muzon to monitor the relocation of the families.
Robes also directed security personnel to guard the houses owned by the city government in the housing project.
But Jose Panes, SMP Homeowners Association president, said the barricade put up by Robes around the housing site had caused tension among security personnel and homeowners.
Residents were required to present health clearances before they were allowed entry into the site.
“We’re given a hard time entering the housing premises. They told us it was an order from the mayor,” Panes said.
He said the city government was also claiming ownership of 40 percent, or 320 of 800 units, in the housing site. These houses were intended for the city’s informal settlers.
The SMP subdivision is part of the P50-billion social housing program of the government for poor families and those living in danger zones in Metro Manila. It was established in 2014 in coordination with the city government.
Robes said the strict monitoring at the entrance of the housing site was to keep the area free of COVID-19 since families were coming from Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak.
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