27 buildings that house 1,760 families in Tondo to be demolished — NHA
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila City government and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has issued a demolition order that would affect 1,760 families in Tondo, Manila even as the coronavirus disease pandemic persists, the National Housing Authority (NHA) confirmed on Thursday.
“I’d like to confirm that NHA has full knowledge that this is our property, and at the same time, we are also confirming that there has been a demolition order issued by the city government of Manila as well as the Department of Public Works and Highways,” NHA general manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. said during the House hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
“We confirm to those documents and in fact, it was also our assessment that indeed after several years of having those buildings constructed, it came to a point of its lifespan that indeed the 27 buildings with some 1,760 families to be exact, the 27 buildings are now subject for demolition,” he also said.
However, Manila 1st District Rep. Manuel Lopez said during his interpellation that the demolition order issued by the local government of Manila dated September 1 was for “residents of 27 building occupants that house around 1,700 dwelling units to a minimum of 5,000 families.”
He noted that a letter of condemnation on the buildings was issued as early as 2014 as he also pointed out the risks of the brewing demolition to affected families.
“This is NHA property and there is a great risk that is posed by the dilemma that we are encountering right now. Roughly around 5,000 families or around 25,000 people [will be affected],” he said, apparently referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Escalada, meanwhile, said almost half of the 1,760 families are still active members and paying beneficiaries of the NHA, and that the agency is “fully aware and acknowledges the fact that [it] needs to plan out for the reconstruction on site.”
“Based on our discussion with our good congressman Manny Lopez as well as the recommendation of my district head and regional managers, most of the people living in our Vitas Katuparan [property] would really love to have an onsite development and that is also the direction of the NHA. We would not want to displace all of these people,” he added.
The official further noted that government authorities involved in the demolition order shall abide by the order of President Rodrigo Duterte not to conduct demolition without relocation sites for affected families.
“We will also make some representations before the city government of Manila as well as the DPWH upon its technical recommendation that up until there is no relocation yet, we will make the representation in compliance to the instruction of the President,” he added.
Of the 1,760 families, around 700 have been “taken out” by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation which means they are now paying loans and amortization with the said government body. Meanwhile, 800 of the concerned families are still paying with the NHA.
“So my proposition and plan in so far as the rehabilitation on onsite development is NHA is willing to fund the first phase of our project and that is the accommodation of 800 more or less families in the amount of P1 billion, and we shall be adopting a mid-rise or high-rise building onsite development for Vitas Katuparan. That is the plan,” Escalada said.
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