• WB eyes $250M loan for PH resettlement plan

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    The World Bank is eyeing for $200million to $250million funding for the first phase of a resettlement program of the Philippines, Country Director for Philippines Motoo Konishi said.

    Konishi, at the sidelines of Asia Pacific Housing Forum, said the loan will be for the “Oplan Likas” or “Lumikas para Iwas sa Kalamidad at Sakit” under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

    Oplan Likas, the P50-billion resettlement program of the national government, aims to move some 600,000 informal settler families (ISFs) or about three million individuals in Metro Manila.

    Konishi said the first phase of Oplan Likas will involve restoration of pumping stations in the National Capital Region (NCR) to mitigate flooding. The restoration of pumping stations will also require moving ISFs in NCR.

    “We have set aside money and we’ve been doing a lot of technical work,” he said.

    Among the technical support given by the World Bank for Oplan Likas involve planning for the pump station restoration and resettlement of ISFs.

    Konishi noted that the Philippine government should look at in-city resettlement work, rather than off-city resettlement, in order to prevent forming of new slums in the city.

    “Nearly 70 percent of the ISFs had to be resettled off-city, away from their jobs, services, and social networks. And because many families struggle to find jobs around these off-city sites, some return to Metro Manila. We need to work harder to realize in-city resettlement for the existing ISFs, and deliver affordable housing to prevent new slums from forming,” he said.

    He urged the government to focus in four key areas to push in-city resettlement and provide affordable housing in Metro Manila including land, housing finance, cooperation among institutions — national government, local government units (LGUs), civil society, private sector, and communities, and sustainable urban development.

    PNA

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