More than 55,000 informal settler families (ISFs) in Quezon City would soon be relocated soon with the roll out of the city's comprehensive infrastructure and resettlement program, Mayor Herbert Bautista said Monday.
“As many as 55,000 informal settler families have to be resettled to allow the unimpeded implementation of national and local road network projects; full development of education infrastructure; rehabilitation and upgrading of water utility pipelines; as well as construction of flood control solutions,” Bautista said at the QC Reception House.
Bautista said the ISFs would be relocated within the next three to six years according to the city's multi-stakeholder technical working group between QC officials and the private sector.
The study focused on Quezon City, being Metro Manila's largest city and having the biggest network of roads, in response to the Duterte administration's goal to tackle the reoccurring and escalating problems of Metro Manila.
Bautista named three areas where the ISFs can be relocated: Santa Maria, Bulacan; San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; and Antipolo City.
The study cited eight major infrastructure projects that can affect ISFs:
- opening or widening access roads and developing new public school sites;
- national road network projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways National Capital Region;
- right of way issues in Segment 8.2 of the North Luzon Expressway connecting Congressional Avenue;
- traffic and flood control projects of the Metro Manila Development Authority
- clearing of waterways by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission to ease flooding in Metro Manila;
- clearing the Arboretum near University of the Philippines Diliman campus to accommodate housing for university professors and employees;
- rehabilitation of pipelines of the Metropolitan Waterways and Sewerage System and Manila Water.
Bautista said all affected ISFs have been informed in advance of their relocation.
“Most of the people here have been informed. They are already ready, nakailang meetings na with [inter-agency committee] yan. Ang tanong na lang is kailan popondohan ng national government,” he said.
Bautista appealed to the national government, particularly to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, incoming Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno, Public Works Sec. Mark Villar, and Interior Sec. Mike Sueno, to help fill the P20 billion budget needed to complete the projects.
He said he is willing to set aside politics for the city and Metro Manila to benefit from the projects.
“Lahat naman tayo matutulungan dito. We need the support of the national government. For me tapos na yung pulitika, trabaho na tayo. And this is a super magnitude that we have to work with,” Bautista said.
“We in QC are very, very serious in addressing the needs of our informal settler families. Ang purpose natin dito bigyan ng magandang dignidad ang ating mga mamamayan sa QC hindi yung itataboy lang sila at babalik ulit,” he added. —KBK, GMA News