Plight of informal settlers concerns Tulfo in case ‘Big One’ happens
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Raffy Tulfo expressed concern on Tuesday over the plight of informal settlers, should the “Big One” jolt Metro Manila.
The “Big One” refers to a scenario in which a magnitude 7.2 earthquake occurs in the capital region.
During the Senate committee on public works hearing on the structural integrity of buildings and infrastructures, Tulfo asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) if they inspected the homes of informal settlers.
DPWH Undersecretary Maximo Carvajal answered: “Ang mandato po kasi ng Department of Public Works and Highways ay ang mga public buildings po. ‘Yung mga private po, ang in-charge po diyan, ‘yung mga building officials ng mga LGU (local government units) po.”
(The DPWH’s mandate covers public buildings. LGUs’ building officials are in charge of private structures.)
Tulfo then lamented the potential situation of informal settlers during disasters.
“Kasi concerned ako. I have so many experience pagdating po sa mga tirahan ng mga informal settlers natin, dikit-dikit at wala po silang madadaanan. Importante po ‘yung distance,” he said.
(I’m concerned. I have so many experiences when it comes to the homes of our informal settlers, those are close to one another and there is no proper path.)
“Tapos ‘yung iba sinasabi nila, hindi sila binibigyan ng right of way, ‘yung iba umaakyat ng bakod para makadaan. So, in the event of an earthquake, marami sa kanila mamamatay. ‘Pag nagkaroon ng sunog, marami sa kanila ang mata-trap,” the senator added.
(Others say that they are not given a right of way; others climb fences to pass through on their way to their houses. So, in the event of an earthquake, many of them will die. Likewise, when there is a fire, many of them will be trapped.)
Based on a 2004 study conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, several structures in greater Manila would not withstand the “Big One.”
Some 52,000 are projected to get killed, while half a million are foreseen to get hurt by the “Big One.”