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Aquino wants plan on informal settlers by January

Posted on 11:26 PM, December 28, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
Resettlement could cost government P100 billion
THE GOVERNMENT is reviving efforts to definitively address the proliferation of informal settlers in Metro Manila.
MalacaƱang said in a statement yesterday that President Benigno S. C. Aquino III met last Dec. 23 with representatives of state departments and agencies as well as nongovernment organizations that now form a technical working group (TWG) on this concern.
Responding to a question via text yesterday, Mr. Aquino said he ordered the TWG "to come up with a master plan by January to address the situation."
The TWG, he said, is headed by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo and is composed of representatives of state housing agencies, urban poor groups, as well as of the departments of Social Welfare and Development, Public Works and Highways, and of Environment and Natural Resources.
Members of the group were not immediately available for comment.
Mr. Aquino added that if relocation would be the chosen solution, the government would have to spend about P200,000 for each family.
"There are at least 500,000 families in this sector. It will cost at least P100 billion if relocation is the solution employed," Mr. Aquino said.
"Priorities are to address those most in danger and to ensure the plan does not encourage others to flock to urban areas, further exacerbating the problem."
Clogging by squatter communities of waterways had been blamed for the floods that hit Metro Manila in the fourth quarter of last year. -- A. M. G. Roa
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