‘Pacman’ to buy relocation site for flood victims

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 August) – World Boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao is set to acquire a five-hectare relocation site for families from his former home village here who were displaced by the massive floods last month.

Barangay Labangal chair Lorelei Pacquiao said Tuesday the lawmaker has given his go-signal to village officials to work for the purchase and development before the end of the year of a resettlement site for residents who lost their homes following the series of flashfloods along the critical Silway River here since July 3.

The floods, which were triggered by heavy rains in the area, displaced 103 families from Puroks Matinabangon and Bulaong extension of Barangay Labangal.

The displaced residents, which were barred by the barangay council from returning to their previous communities due to risks of more severe floods, took temporary shelter at the barangay gymnasium for around three weeks.

Pacquiao, a sister-in-law of the boxing champion, said the remaining evacuees agreed to leave the facility on Monday and temporarily relocate to other areas pending the acquisition and development of their resettlement site.

“They agreed to leave the evacuation center so they can finally move on and continue with their normal lives,” she said.

She said the barangay council also decided to clear the facility of the evacuees so they can use the facility for their other activities.

Using the village’s calamity funds, Pacquiao said the barangay council provided food packs to the remaining 62 families before they left the gymnasium.

She said the boxing champion, who grew up in Barangay Labangal, also gave out a cash assistance of P2,500 to each of the displaced families.

“We will keep a database of the affected families and monitor their whereabouts so we can easily notify them once the relocation site would be ready,” Pacquiao said.

She added that they are targeting to open the resettlement site, which would be called Pacman Village, by December this year. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)