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QC squatters persuaded to transfer to relocation sites

04/18/2012 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Quezon City government has done its part to encourage the 80 to 100 remaining informal settler families (ISF) occupying the BIR Road along Barangay Central to avail themselves of the relocation sites offered to them by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

According to Mayor Herbert Bautista, this was done to avoid possible displacement once the national government finally enforces its long-standing demolition order on them.

Illegally-built structures occupied by the ISFs have been scheduled for demolition as part of the effort of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to recover the occupied road-right-of-way near the Bureau of Internal Revenue national office.

DPWH, in close coordination with the QC government, has been negotiating with the affected families for the past two years for them to voluntarily vacate the area.

Originally, 500 informal settler families have occupied the areas along BIR Road. However, 400 opted to avail themselves of the relocation site designated by the NHA.

“Sa totoo lang po, hindi nagkulang ang pamahalaan sa mga responsibilidad nito. Kaagapay ng pamahalaang lungsod ang Commission on Human Rights, Presidential Commission on Urban Poor, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council at iba pang mga stakeholders sa pagsasagawa ng mga pakikipag-usap at konsultasyon sa mga apektadong pamilya,” said the mayor during an executive staff meeting at the QC Hall Bulwagan.

Earlier during the week, a militant urban poor group had stormed QC Hall to protest the looming demolition of ISFs on BIR Road, Barangay Central.

As this developed, the mayor, during the executive staff meeting, unveiled plans to put up its own socialized housing fund in order for the city to effectively implement its housing program.

The fund, which will be incorporated in the city’s budget that will start next year, shall be sourced from the collection of the idle land tax and the city’s socialized housing tax.

“Housing for the poor will continue to remain as a major backbone of my personal and professional commitment. While I am more than willing to make political sacrifices, I am also expecting that other stakeholders would also do the same,” Bautista said. Arlie O. Calalo
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