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20,000 informal settlers to be relocated in July

The relocation program for informal settler families (ISF)—a major component of the national government’s flood mitigation efforts—is on track, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas III said during the Flood Summit at the House of Representatives (HoR) in Quezon City.

Roxas said that some 20,000 ISFs residing in eight identified priority “high-risk zones” near waterways will be relocated by July.

The eight priority waterways are Estero de Maypajo in Manila, Estero de Sunog Apog in Manila, Pasig River, Estero Tripa de Gallina (stretches from Manila to Makati and Pasay cities), Tullahan River in Quezon City, San Juan River, Manggahan Floodway in Laguna de Bay and Maricaban Creek.

Roxas said there are 60,000 ISFs living in waterways all in all, and these are expected to be removed and transferred to safer places by 2016.

“By 2016, the whole 60,000 won’t be in the waterways anymore. We are on track,” he said.

He noted that these families living in waterways are not headache for authorities since they now volunteer to be plucked from their dangerously-placed abodes.

“These families living in the waterways voluntarily want to leave the area because floods wash away the fruits of their labor such as their savings, appliances and threaten the safety of their love ones.”

“When it’s raining at night, they can’t sleep because they are nervous that the flood water could reach their houses,” explained Roxas.