THE city government of Manila has ordered the 54 families still occupying the Delpan Evacuation Center in Tondo to vacate the area, saying they have been overstaying in the facility.
Nanette Tanyag, chief of the City Department of Social Welfare and Development, 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 money, aside from groceries, to 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 mandatory leave the center because they have been given enough construction materials and cash money 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,” said Tanyag.
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.
“We saw them celebrate their birthdays with so much revelry. Some of them engage in gambling like tong-its (a card game),” Tanyag said.
However, Tanyag added that those who did not have houses rebuilt were sent to Boystown in Marikina City where they could temporarily stay.
Meanwhile, evacuees Stella Villanueva, 43, and Felomina Tangnan, 45, denied that they have been celebrating their birthdays in the center.
“They gave us materials and cash but not enough,’ said Villanueva. JAIME R. PILAPIL