TACLOBAN CITY- Citing damages and loss of potential income, the regional representative of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in Eastern Visayas seeks for the transfer of more them 100 families taking shelter inside the sequestered-Marcos property in this city.
Relocating the families inside the People’s Center and Library should now be given focus considering that they have been living in the said facility for almost three months now, said Renoir Dauag, PCGG regional representative.
According to Dauag, the two-storey building constructed by former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos in 1979 was not identified as an evacuation center.
“The people forced open the building during the typhoon. It’s almost three months now since they occupied the People’s Center. It was just disappointing that they did not took care the properties and books inside the building,” Dauag said.
The building, sitting one hectare of lot located along Real Street this city, contains more than 54,000 volumes of books, journals and other reading materials.
It was constructed by Mrs. Marcos in 1979 alongside with the Santo Nino Shrine which Dauag made a stern warning to the assigned security personnel there not to allow any evacuees considering of the valuables inside the building.
At present, rows of makeshifts made of woods and tarpaulins could be seen inside the building with 105 families consisting of 448 persons living there.
Several “sari-sari stores” have also sprouted inside with a woman even put up a business on “charging for fee” of mobile phones and flash lights using a generator set. Much of Tacloban remains without electricity.
Dauag said that several books located at the 24 rooms of the building’s second level were destroyed by some of the evacuees, using them during their cooking or worst, when they used the bathrooms.
He also claimed that the building’s floorings, which are made of woods, were now destroyed as some of its properties like DVD players were now lost.
“The entire place is stinky. Some of them play mahjong inside the People’s Center as others put up a small variety store there,” he said.
According to him, the said facility generates an income to the PCGG of at least P2 million a year which is being used for various occasions like JS proms, large gatherings and bazaars.
“We don’t get any financial help from the (national).We are self-liquidating. The money that we raised is used to defray salaries of our 23 employees and other expenses,” Dauag said.
The building was supposed to be rented out to a bazaar last Christmas with the PCGG receiving an amount of P460, 000 as rent only to return it due to the presence of the evacuees, he said.
Dauag said that he is seeking the help from the Department of Social Welfare and Development on his desire to relocate the evacuees.
He said lack of income could result for the retrenchment of the agency’s 23 personnel.
The evacuees, coming from the barangays of Real, Pampango and Magallanes areas, occupied the building on November 8.
Jerome Espinosa, who acts as leader of the evacuees inside the People’s Center and Library, said that they are willing to move out on condition that they would be given relocation sites.
“We don’t like to stay here. We don’t have any privacy here. WE are willing to move out anytime so long as the government will give us a safe relocation site,” the 33-year old, who is living with his mother, two siblings and nephew, said.
He did admitted that “some” of the evacuees, especially those who occupied the second level of the building, destroyed some of the books there.
“But I already advised them not to touch or destroy anything inside the building. We are also now strictly observing health and sanitation for our own good,” Espinosa said.
Mary Rose Edara, 26, said that she and her two young children would leave the place as long as the government could guarantee them a relocation site.
“But up to now, we have yet to receive any information as to when we’ll stay here or when they will give us a relocation site,”Edara said.
Rena Bartoser, social worker assigned at the People’s Center, admitted that the government has yet to decide when the evacuees would be relocated.
“We cannot just move them out. There should be a relocation site first which has yet to be identified for them,” she said.
According to Espinosa, they were informed earlier that they would stay there for about six months.
By: JOEY A. GABIETA