Makati clears vital waterway of over 500 informal settler families

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AS part of its continuing flood control and disaster mitigation programs, the city government of Makati has cleared a vital waterway in Barangay Bangkal where more than 500 informal settler families (ISFs) were demolished.

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Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay said the clearing of informal settlers along waterways in the city was also in compliance with the Mandamus of the Supreme Court (SC) on the clearing of waterways in Metro Manila.

He said the city’s engineering department has already completed the clearing f the entire portion of Tripa de Gallina creek (estero) covered by Barangay Bangkal where some 537 informal settler families resided.

The Tripa de Gallina creek traverses Makati and Pasay.

At least 506 out of the 537 ISFs have been relocated to National Housing Authority (NHA) housing projects in the province of Cavite.

“Makati gives the informal setters different forms of assistance so that they could relocate the soonest time possible and get out of dangerous areas, such as the waterways,” Binay said.

Binay said the clearing of informal settlers and illegal structures along Tripa de Gallina was vital to resolving the perennial flooding at the intersection of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue and South Luzon Expressway.

He said this will optimize the capacity of the seven-hectare canal to serve its purpose of preventing floods during a sudden downpour or typhoon especially in the said area.

To date, the Makati side of the creek located in Barangays San Isidro and Bangkal has been totally cleared, while clearing operations have started on the portion in Barangay Pio del Pilar and are almost completed in Barangay Palanan.

The mayor also said the city government has been supporting the relocation of informal settlers whose lives are endangered by the rise of floodwaters along the different waterways in Makati.

“I am glad that the informal settlers are beginning to prioritize their safety and have been cooperative to the relocation program of the city government,” he added.

Under the Makati Waterways Resettlement Program along Estero Tripa de Gallina in Barangay Bangkal, 537 families were tagged and classified as follows: 218 families relocated to NHA Housing in Barangay Aguado and 288 families relocated to NHA Housing in Barangay Hugo Perez, all in Trece Martirez, Cavite.  They also received P5,000 financial assistance from the city government, food assistance for five days and trucking assistance.

Meanwhile, four families that did not qualify for relocation and opted to relocate within Metro Manila received P5,000 financial assistance and food assistance for five days from Makati.

Two families availed of the Balik Probinsya assistance of the city government, and 25 families were disqualified for assistance or did not submit the necessary documents.

The social welfare department of the city distributes the financial and food assistance to the beneficiaries.

The engineering department also assists the relocatees in the transport of personal belongings and housing materials (like wood or GI sheets) that can still be used.

Meanwhile, the engineering department is completing the demolition of concrete walls and fences erected by informal settlers along the Tripa de Gallina easement which belongs to the government.

Most of the informal settlements were erected on the easement area with a few structures going over to the creek and supported by stilts.

The Tripa de Gallina creek, which has an area of 7 hectares, is a vital waterway in Makati because it receives the outfall of 80 percent of the wastewater in the city.

RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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