MANILA - As part of government efforts to clear Metro Manila's informal settler families (ISFs) from dangerous waterways, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday led the ceremonies for the turn-over of the cleared 3-meter easement of Maricaban Creek in Pasay City to barangay officials.
Roxas said the creek's 3-meter easement is now cleared after around 649 families who used to live along the waterway voluntarily transferred to a resettlement site located in Trece Martirez City beginning November 2013, under the government's "Oplan Likas" program.
"Walang ibang hangad ang pamahalaan kundi masigurong ang mga mamamayan ay malayo sa sakuna o anumang peligro dulot ng kalamidad. Kaya natutuwa ako na sa pamamagitan ng Oplan Likas ay nabibigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating mga kababayan na manirahan sa isang ligtas na pamayanan," said the DILG secretary, who is also vice-chairperson for disaster preparedness.
"Oplan Likas" or "Lumikas para Iwas Kalamidad at Sakit ," spearheaded by the DILG, aims to relocate ISFs living along so-called danger zones in various parts of Metro Manila to safe, decent, and affordable housing units as part of President Aquino's "Covenant with the Poor."
Other agencies involved in the program are Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Housing Authority (NHA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Maricaban Creek is one of the eight priority waterways identified by the government that have to be widened and dredged and cleared of structures. The other waterways are: San Juan River, Manggahan Floodway, Estero Tripa de Galina, Tullahan River, Pasig River, Estero de Maypajo and Ester de Sunog Apog.
Roxas explained that the clearing of the 3-meter easement along Maricaban Creek paves the way for the implementation of DPWH's Metro Manila Flood Control Project in that area, which includes dredging of rivers, improvement of urban drainage system, and dike/river wall construction and excavation.
Dredging activities are already being undertaken in the area, with the first phase of the revetment wall already completed.
"The relocation will pave the way for the unimpeded development of flood management system for Metro Manila. The vacated communities will be secured by the government and prioperly marked as danger zones to prevent building of structures in the future," Roxas said.
As of June 30, 2014, housing units amounting to a total of 147.6-million have been distributed to 738 ISFs from the Maricaban area. A total of 1,845 starter food packs and 550 health kits have also been given to the families aside from the P18,000 financial assistance per family.
"Bago matapos ang buwang ito, inaasahan ko na sa tulong ng lokal na pamahalaan ay wala nng ISF sa buong kahabaan ng Maricaban Creek," Roxas said.