Vice President Jejomar Binay announced on Saturday that 4,800 housing units are ready for the settlement of the informal settler families living in dangerous areas along waterways in Metro Manila.
Binay, who is also the housing czar, said the informal settlers will be moved on Monday to the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) resettlement sites in Trece Martires in Cavite province and in San Jose del Monte, Bocaue, Norzagaray and Pandi in Bulacan.
“Informal settler families can now sleep tight in their new homes even during harsh weather,” he said.
The initial batch of 80 families living along the San Juan River will be relocated next week at the San Jose Heights in San Jose del Monte.
Binay said the resettlement site has basic facilities such as water and electricity, health center and a school.
“The government is intent on upgrading our resettlement areas so that ISFs (informal settler families) can truly have a chance at rebuilding their lives,” Binay said.
The seven-kilometer San Juan River winds through San Juan City, Mandaluyong and Quezon City. Eight barangays in San Juan City, namely, Salapan, Balong Bato, Rivera, Progreso, Batis, Kabayanan, Maytunas, and Ermitaño, will be cleared of about 600 informal settlers whose makeshift dwellings are located within the river’s three-meter easement.
Based on NHA data, Metro Manila has 104,219 informal settler families living in danger areas and about 60,130 of them occupy major waterways.
In 2011, President Aquino Benigno 3rd launched a five-year, P50-billion housing program for informal settlers living in danger areas in Metro Manila, particularly along waterways.
Aside from the 4,800 housing units now ready for occupancy, 4,200 more units will be completed by December.
NEIL A. ALCOBER