MORE than a million individuals or 250,000 families who are informal settlers in Manila will soon be provided with decent homes either in or outside the city.
This developed after Mayor Joseph Estrada discussed with the National Housing Authority (NHA) measures to help those living in danger zones.
Estrada said NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada had promised to extend housing assistance to informal settler families (ISFs) located along the railroad tracks, canals, rivers, creeks and in garbage dumps.
The mayor added that he and Escalada had discussed steps to be taken to “rescue” the hundreds of thousands of ISFs that live dangerously along the banks of creeks and other identified high-risk areas.
“Manila is a capital city and yet we have the most number of informal settlers. It is our desire to come to the aid of those families living in such danger zones. After all, everyone has the right to adequate and safe housing and shelter,” Estrada said.
He also reassured the ISFs in Manila that his administration strictly adheres to President Duterte’s “no relocation, no demolition” policy concerning informal settlers.
Since 2013 when he was elected mayor of Manila, Estrada has relocated 7,403 ISFs from esteros and other danger zones, 500 of them in city-managed properties in Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna.
He has also awarded 257 families their own lots under the city government’s “Land for the Landless” program, while an initial batch of 32 families in the impoverished Baseco Compound in Tondo now have their own house-and-lots at the P44.5-million housing project in Sitio Dubai.
The village is being built on a 3.5-hectare portion of Sitio Dubai in Baseco and is intended to serve as a permanent relocation site for long-time residents of the area.
There are 2.8 million informal settlers or 556,526 families living in Metro Manila as of 2010. Estrada said more than half of this number are in Manila.
The city government said 104,000 families were occupying areas identified by the Department of the Interior and Local Government as danger zones.
In Manila, ISFs are concentrated in 107 barangays that are traversed by big waterways such as the Pasig River, San Juan River, Estero de Maypajo, and Estero de Sunog Apog.