Mayor Edwin Olivarez of Parañaque City on Tuesday said he will soon begin talks with informal settler families (ISFs) in the city in preparation for their possible relocation as part of the national government’s thrust to clear Metro Manila’s major waterways that have become home to thousands of ISFs despite the dangerous and unsanitary conditions.
“We have already identified possible relocation sites outside Parañaque for our informal settler families but, as much as possible, we will offer and provide them in-city relocation and our main goal is to get them out of harm’s way,” Olivarez said.
“We must also make sure that they will have sources of livelihood in the relocation sites aside from decent living spaces, clean water, schools, roads and other utilities so that they would not be tempted to return to danger zones along murky rivers and esteros,” the mayor added.
The mayor said that he had visited early this month two relocation sites of the National Housing Authority in Trece Martirez City in nearby Cavite province where some former ISFs from Parañaque are now living in relative comfort and decent conditions after being resettled.
“The site is okay. There are roads, schools, running water, electricity, and they live in row houses that are each standing on 40 square meter lots,” the mayor described the Trece Martirez site.
Olivarez said the local government must prepare this early because the Parañaque River, the city’s major waterway, is included in the second batch of waterways that will be cleared by the Department of Public Works and Highways in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The government is presently clearing Metro Manila’s major rivers including the Tullahan River and the San Juan River, among others, under the first phase of a multi-year program to mitigate flooding in the metropolis and bring thousands of ISFs to safer grounds.
“We will continue talking with our ISFs living in danger zones. Trece Martirez is an alternative, but our preference is to provide them in-city relocation so that they are not totally displaced from their current sources of livelihood and their children’s schoolings are not disrupted,” the local chief executive said.
The mayor said he has instructed the Local Housing Development Office and the Urban Mission Areas Development Office to come up with a definitive list of informal settler families that may be affected by any relocation in the future.PNA