MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima has called for a Senate inquiry into 2 "Build, Build, Build" projects that would reportedly displace some 180,000 families in Metro Manila.
In Senate Resolution 927, De Lima urged the appropriate committee to look into the impending demolition of 38 communities in Manila to give way to the construction of the P171-billion North-South Commuter Railway Project, and a P23-billion road that will connect the North and South Luzon expressways.
"Mega-infrastructure projects such as these rarely, if at all, mention the social costs of these endeavors, particularly the physical and economic displacement of thousands of people just to give way for their construction in Metro Manila's densely populated areas," she said in a statement.
"Some residents of Sampaloc, Manila have long been apprehensive of their forcible eviction and relocation to give way for the construction of these projects. They have repeatedly stressed that the concerned agencies have failed to adequately consult with them concerning the right-of-way negotiations," she added.
The 2 construction projects are scheduled to roll out this year. Those who will be displaced will reportedly be relocated in far and inaccessible sites, said De Lima who chairs the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development.
Relocation to unfamiliar areas would result to zero-to-low occupancy rates of the housing projects due to lack of access to livelihood opportunities, power and water facilities, and poor estate management, she warned.
She also urged the government to change its National Resettlement Policy Framework and operationalize it through an executive order or a law that would set up a clear roadmap to address gaps in "no relocation, no demolition" policy.
"There is a need for the government to ensure that in its 'Build, Build, Build' program, essential institutional reforms are simultaneously undertaken," she added.