Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada on Monday said he will give priority to relocating informal settlers living along the city’s waterways.
Estrada, who took his oath as mayor on Sunday, blamed the informal settlers’ indiscriminate disposal of waste for the heavily polluted waterways and the floods that plague the city during the rainy season.
“If we look at the Manila’s waterways, we will see how dirty they are, so whenever it rains, it floods,” he said.
But he assured that there will be no demolition of squatter dwellings without relocation. “We are not trying to oppress them. We will make sure before we evacuate them that a relocation area will be provided for them,” he said.
Estrada thanked President Benigno Aquino 3rd “who last week expressed his full support for the dredging and treatment of the waterways in the city together with the Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson. The budget that the President approved for the city will be a big help.”
He said he won’t be able to fulfill his promise to give the city back its former glory without the help of the residents.
“Like what I said earlier during the flag ceremony, the City of Manila represents the Philippines, that’s why we must address this issue together. Let us forget about politics and think about our country. Manila is the city with the most number of those living in poverty, so we must unite in the service of our fellow citizens,” Estrada said.
JAN ERICK C. TUTAAN