Former illegal settlers lead new lives

by Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2013 09:02 PM | Updated as of Jul 16 2013 04:44 AM

MANILA - Despite recent violent incidents on Agham Road in Quezon City, some illegal settlers are for government's relocation plan.

Those living beside a river in Barangay North Triangle have willingly accepted the offer to be relocated.

Lenny Misola said she is thankful for being allowed for years to live on land they don't own.

She said her family is ready to move after living along the river for over 20 years.   

As soon as she stepped off the bus im Bulacan, Lenny became a home owner.

"Amin na ito!" she exclaimed.

In her new home in Bocaue, Lenny has to pay a rent of only P200 a month.

Like Lenny, Maricel was ready to be a home owner.

She made the move a month ago from Moriones, Tondo.

She said she got tired of being an illegal settler and worried about her family.

She said although their relocation site is far from the metropolis, her husband is trying his best to look for a new job.

In Quezon City, Vice-Pesident Jejomar Binay and officials from World Bank led an inspection of housing units.

The city government, the Socialized Housing and Finance Corporation (SHFC), and concerned housing agencies signed a land-sharing agreement to provide housing for squatter families in Barangay Doña Imelda, which is near the San Juan River.

Under the agreement, the World Bank will finance the construction of a multi-storey building on a government-owned site in Quezon City.

The program is seen to benefit an estimated 8,000 families this year, while another 8,000 will receive the same benefit next year.

Binay and city Mayor Herbert Bautista appealed for the beneficiaries' cooperation.

"To come up with a cohesive and well accepten plan, an interagency committee is working on an onsite housing project in Doña Imelda that will be designed to provide 550 housing units in a 3-storey walk up structure on stilts," Bautista said. "This will be on lots that will be donated by city government as soon as the legal issues are addressed."

"To lessen the onslaught of floods, we are counting on the DPWH to build the retaining wall as well as do the dredging of the San Juan River," he added. "I hope this can be the model for helping hands in community rehabilitation and upgrading in more parts of Quezon City and the country."

"Ngayon po sa tulong ng high-density housing program, maari nang magpahiram ng pondo ang (SHFC) sa pagbili ng lupa at pagpapatayo ng gusaling bahay na maraming makikinabang tulad ng Quezon City," Binay said. "Pinag-aralan ang kakayahan ng mga benepisyaryo na magbayad sa buwanang amortisasyon para ang payment terms makayanan ninyo."

Aside from a new home, beneficiaries will get an P18,000 stipend to begin their new life. - ANC