TACLOBAN CITY- A housing official of the city government said that they have not been informed ahead by the Department of Public Works and Highways on the ongoing widening of roads that affects over 6,000 families.

Ted Jopson of the Tacloban City Housing Office said that while they were aware of the road widening of roads in the city due to the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis, their office did not received any letter from the Tacloban City Engineering District on such activity.  “We have not received any formal communication from the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) Tacloban City Engineering District on the Road Widening happening in some major thoroughfare of the city,” Jopson said.

The ongoing road widening, particularly along San Jose district up to Marasbaras area, is to affect 6,178 families, many of them still reeling from the aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda. As to the families that will be affected by the road widening, Jopson said that based on their knowledge majority of the structures that will be affected by the widening are extensions of houses so that even if this be will removed they will not be displaced. Thus, issue on relocation site is unnecessary. “Right now, our focus is how to relocate the nearly 10,000 families living within the 40 meters no dwelling zone and those who are living in the tents and makeshift houses” Jopson said. “But I am confident that Engineer Arnaldo Bonifacio knows what he is doing so that he knows how to deal with whatever problem that will arise out of the implementation of the project” Jopson added, referring to the chief of the Tacloban Engineering District. Jopson also made his observation that just like in San Jose, where the road widening has started, majority of the affected families are businessmen who can afford to have their own houses repair without seeking assistance from the government.

It will be recalled that Bonifacio said that their target is to fully implement the road widening in the cities national highways before 2016. These roads are the Daang Maharlika which includes Nula -Tula highway; Airport Picas Road, Tacloban Baybay South Road; Imelda Veteranos; P. Burgos street; Rizal Avenue and Rizal Avenue Extension; Justice Romualdez; Apitong Road and Real street among others.(ALLAN AMISTOSO)