Mayor to set up better housing for fire victims in Iloilo City
ILOILO CITY—The mayor of this city has announced its plan to set up better houses for victims of one of the biggest fires here last Saturday, Jan. 28.
In his press conference on Monday, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said he would ask the help of private property owners, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), barangay officials, the city’s Urban Poor Affairs Office, and City Assessor’s Office to realize the plan.
He said the city wanted to buy the land previously occupied by the fire victims and set up a medium-rise structure with better roads and access.
Given that the current Marcos Jr. administration seeks to build 1 million housing units a year, Treñas sees this as a prime opportunity to push for the inclusion of the project located in Barangays San Juan and West Habog-habog in Molo district.
“Since the fire had already occurred, we will prioritize having this included in the national government’s program of 1 million housing units a year. In other areas, we will see if there will be a place for that,” the mayor said.
“We will buy the land, then we will converse with the DHSUD if we can have a medium-rise building built so we can also place better housing there. I think this is around 3.16 hectares,” he added.
But Treñas is also zeroing in on the need for road access in the area, citing the fact that the lack of access by fire trucks to the area may have exacerbated the fire.
“[The affected residents] can come back, but we have to discuss placing a road and other facilities there. That is why we are seeking to buy the land, but the problem there would be is that, if we just allow them to come back without the [necessary facilities] in place, there might be a fire again,” he said.
Another plan was to relocate the families to land in Barangay Tacas in Jaro district, just behind the city’s slaughterhouse. Treñas plans to buy the land there as part of a ₱ 200 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines.
He was also optimistic that the Layson family of Molo district, which owns major parts of the fire-affected lots, would be open to the city’s offer to buy it.
Treñas saw the need to complete the project as soon as possible, saying evacuees cannot stay longer at the evacuation centers in San Juan and Baluarte elementary schools.
The fire, which occurred early Saturday morning, destroyed 272 houses and damaged 17 others.
Damage was pegged at ₱4.748 million.
The city government is now processing ₱10,000 worth of cash assistance for the affected families.
Treñas said Saturday’s fire was the worst in recent history, just after the 1966 fire at the City Proper.
56 houses razed in Iloilo City fire
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