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P450M earmarked for North Triangle squatters’ relocation

By Gerry Baldo
10/13/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Aquino government has earmarked P450 million for the construction of medium-rise buildings in Caloocan City to house the 1,500 informal settlers in the North Triangle in Quezon City, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) assistant secretary Gina de la Cruz said yesterday.

De la Cruz added the NAPC, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) have been working together with North Triangle informal settlers for an amicable settlement, including the possibilities for on-site, in-city or near-city relocation plan.

The Commission on Human Rights has pitched in as well by providing guidelines for a rights-based approach to the resettlement of informal settlers.

“With these social processes under way, NAPC and the other members of the task force are confident that the problem is being handled carefully,” De la Cruz said, adding the government is urgently working to finalize an agreement aimed at providing tenurial security for informal settlers in the North Triangle which is being developed into a business and commercial district.

The NAPC said an inter-agency technical working group composed of the commission, the DILG, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council has been exploring ways to come up with a solution that is just, feasible and acceptable to all stakeholders.

“We at NAPC have been engaged in a series of talks with various informal settler organizations in North Triangle since October last year and especially when President Aquino called for the creation of a body in December tasked to craft a housing framework for the urban poor in light of the demolition that took place in the area and the many issues that concern the informal settler families,” De la Cruz said.

Some 4,000 to 5,000 families are facing demolition in North Triangle to make way for a P22-billion development project which includes the entire 30-hectare Sitio San Roque in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa.

The project is a joint venture of the Ayala Land Inc. and the NHA to develop and transform North Triangle into a central business and commercial district. The NHA is the listed owner of this property.

The inter-agency task force has succeeded in getting the approval of President Aquino to allocate P10 billion in 2011 as part of the P38-billion proposed funding package for the resettlement of some 106,000 informal settler families living in danger zones such as esteros and floodways around the country.

The amount will be used to construct low-cost housing in suburban and in-city resettlement areas.
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