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QC government warns anew barangay officials vs coddling informal settlers

By Arlie O. Calalo
11/09/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Quezon City government has warned anew barangay officials against allowing informal settlers to build new colonies within their jurisdictions, particularly in areas along waterways or danger zones.

In a huddle with members of the Quezon City Press Club, Mayor Herbert Bautista said he was expecting the entire village officials to be more cooperative with the local government in keeping these danger areas away from the informal settlers.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute local officials who fail to curtail the proliferation and further increase of informal settlements in their respective areas,” he said.

Makeshift dwellings on waterways and along riverbanks contribute to floods and water contamination, putting at risk the lives of thousands other people, the city chief executive said.

“We have been given the teeth to discipline, suspend and remove such officials by the Department of Interior and Local Government under memorandum circular MC-2011-017,” the mayor said.

He reminded barangay officials that allowing more and more families to live in unhygienic surroundings, with more and more poor children getting sick, with more indigent families dying from flood-causing mudslides and collapsing structures, will amount to creating more problems for the city government.

Already, the city government has to contend with the problem of funding its pro-poor housing communities where informal settlers could be resettled.

“Given the sheer size of our informal settler population — more than 232,000 families — the funds needed to make a significant reduction in the number is huge,” he said.

He added: “That is why we have begun implementing two revenue measures mandated for local governments under the Urban Development and Housing Act way back in 1992: the idle land tax and the socialized housing tax.”

Collections from the two tax measures are estimated at P300 million yearly which will go into a special fund for housing, he said.
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