CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/23 December) — President Benigno S. Aquino III has allocated P450 million for the core shelter program of Typhoon Sendong’s flashflood victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.
The President made the announcement in his visit to the flood victims at the Cagayan de Oro City Central School this week.
“You can be assured of government assistance in helping rebuild your homes, but you have to assure us, in return, that you will no longer go back to those places which has threatened and put your lives in great danger,” he told the victims in Filipino.
“We will give you jobs so that you will have some income, but we will not allow you to go back and endanger your lives and our environment),” he added.
In the same visit, Aquino clarified that the P450 million does not include the 1,000 housing units that the National Housing Authority has set aside for the victims.
The President has ordered the police to prevent the flood victims from going back to their homes. But as of Thursday, some of the victims in Tibasak, Barangay Macasandig in this city could be seen trying to rebuild their houses with makeshift materials. One family used new GI sheets for roofing.
Tibasak was a community of at least 100 households, Earl Nacalaban, one of the flood victims, told MindaNews yesterday.
He said that while the government has good intentions of not letting them rebuild their houses there he does not know where else to go.
Meanwhile, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, who accompanied the President, said the core shelter program aims to provide funds for the houses to be built in areas where it will be safe.
“The fund is ready and the problem is only the identification of the area by the local chief executives. No settlement on the portion that has been described as extremely dangerous will be allowed,” she said.
In earlier media interviews, City Mayor Vicente Emano admitted the local government tolerated the presence of settlements near the riverbanks, citing they had been there for decades already.
He said it was the people themselves who asked that they be allowed to remain in those places. (MindaNews)