At least 1,200 families living along the Pasig River have been relocated to safer areas as part of government efforts to keep them out of harm’s way during typhoons, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday.
This, after Roxas conducted a walking tour of the progress of the government’s river rehabilitation program with Ms. Gina Lopez, head of ABS CBN Foundation’s “Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig.” They inspected the 2.9-km Estero de Paco, once considered among the dirtiest esteros in Metro Manila.
The DILG chief and Lopez were pleased to see the product of the three-month effort serving as the first phase of the rehabilitation work: landscaped estero walls, aerated water that has brought back marine life to the estero, and the presence of river warriors composed of community volunteers who keep the esteros clean of debris and other waste.
The foundation, in coordination with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and the DILG, took on the rehabilitation of the estero to serve as a model for 47 other tributaries of the Pasig River. It involved the dredging of silt and accumulated waste at the river bed.
The DILG chief said a new relocation policy is now being pursued by the government in the case of informal settlers. Its main thrust, he said, is not to dump people and families but instead focus on people consultation.
The relocation, according to Roxas consists of on-site upgrading and in-city or near-city relocation where informal settlers move near their places of work or residences.
Press Release, May 23, 2013