54 families asked to leave Delpan evacuation center

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The city government of Manila on Friday ordered the 54 families still occupying the Delpan Evacuation Center in Tondo to vacate the area, saying they have been overstaying in the facility.

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City Department of Social Welfare and Development chief Nanette Tanyag said, originally, there were 2,000 families who sought refuge at the center after the Feb. 7 fire at Baseco Compound.

She said Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada distributed construction materials and cash aside from groceries, to the fire victims so they could rebuild their gutted houses.

Tanyag said the majority of the fire victims returned to Baseco after rebuilding their homes. But,130 families remained until it went down to 54 families.

“We are now asking them to voluntarily leave the center because they have been given enough construction materials and cash to start a new life. They have been staying here very much contented. In fact, many of them celebrate their birthdays complete with tarpaulins, cakes, singing, and the usual Filipino tradition of celebrating birthdays. Some of them engage in gambling,” Tanyag said.

There were reports that many of the remaining 54 families occupying the center have actually rebuilt their houses and had them rented out to friends.

However, Tanyag added that those who do not have not rebuilt their houses were sent to Boystown in Marikina City yesterday where they can temporarily stay.

Meanwhile, evacuees Stella Villanueva, 43, and Felomina Tangnan, 45, denied that they have been celebrating their birthdays grandly. “They gave us construction materials and cash but these are not enough,” Villanueva said.

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