City officials assured to look at their grievances
TACLOBAN CITY- Close to 500 individuals staged a protest rally at the Sangguniang Panlungsod building to dramatize their opposition on the reported plan of the city government to transfer them at the relocation sites before the end of this month.
The rallyists, who all lost their houses when supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit Tacloban three years ago, claimed that the resettlement sites are not yet ready for occupancy and if ready, there are no provision on water and power.
“We are not opposing on the transfer but what we are asking is for the government to make these houses liveable,” Belinda Ginu-o, a resident of Barangay 90, Baybay, San Jose district.
City officials like Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin and councilor Aimee Grafil, who chairs the committee on urban poor and resettlement, assured the families that they would seriously consider their grievances.
The move to transfer the families living in coastal areas, declared as danger zones in the aftermath of the storm surge generated by supertyphoon “Yolanda,” was in the wake of pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit here in the city on the third year commemoration of Yolanda’s onslaught.
The President directed government agencies to transfer all the families still living in temporary shelters to include those in danger zones to the permanent resettlement sites.
In Tacloban, more than 14,400 families who lost their houses due to Yolanda are to be relocated. However, three years after the massive disaster, only more than 2000 families have been permanently transferred to the relocation sites located in the northern part of the city.
While there are houses, constructed by the National Housing Authority, that could be occupied by the families, lack of water supply, power and livelihood opportunities stops the beneficiaries to transfer to these housing units.
Joli Torella of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA) said that they received an advisory that the city government of Tacloban plans to undertake a “massive” demolition of structures in areas located in the “no build zones.”
According to Torella, such move will lead to force eviction of around 1,000 families per week living in coastal areas, particularly in Magallanes and San Jose districts.
The UPA provided assistance like temporary shelters to the families located in these areas. (JAZMIN BONIFACIO)