Palace defends plan to relocate informal settlers in Metro Manila

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Malacañang defended on Tuesday the government’s plan to transfer informal settlers living in Metro Manila’s danger areas saying the move has long-term positive social implications.

Some quarters have been questioning the government’s plan arguing that spending huge amount of money to move squatters from danger areas is not the obligation of the middle income tax payers.

But in a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, Palace Deputy Spokesman Abigail Valte said relocating more than 19,000 families from danger zones is government’s major obligation.

“Trabaho ng pamahalaan na siguraduhin under the general welfare clause na sila ay matulungan; at pangalawa, alam naman natin na nagkakaroon na rin ng mga structure sa mga waterways na ito, it affects the rest of the metro also,” Valte said.

Allowing these poor families to live in those danger zones exposes them to health risks and disaster threats, Valte said. Transferring them will also benefit everybody because the government could be able to clear the waterways and build infrastructure that will prevent excessive flooding.

“In the long run, that will also benefit the rest of the populace,” the Palace official said.

By moving these poor families to a much safer and comfortable location, they could start new lives and become more productive members of society, she said.

“What they do with that opportunity that is given to them is entirely up to them. But, on the part of government, we hope that they will take the opportunity and use it to better their lives.”

The government eyes in-city and off-city relocations for the informal settlers living in Metro Manila. At least 4,000 housing units all over the metropolis are said to be ready for occupancy.

Housing units for off-city relocations are also being constructed in resettlement areas in Montalban, Trese Martirez, Baras, Panay, Bocaue and Laguna. PNA

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