GenSan to relocate residents living in danger zones

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 October) — The city government is working for the relocation of around 1,800 families here living in various flood-prone areas and other declared calamity danger zones.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the local government recently acquired a 40-hectare site in Barangay Bawing that will be developed as relocation area for informal settlers and residents who were earlier displaced by various calamities that hit the area.

“Our main priority is the informal settlers situated along the danger zones,” the mayor said.

Based on the site’s development plan, Rivera said they are planning to build housing units that will be offered to the beneficiaries through a socialized scheme.

Citing a report from the City Housing and Land Management Office, he said a total of 1,818 households will benefit from the project.

He said the city government is presently screening the potential beneficiaries to make sure that they are really residents of the city.

The mayor said they had received reports a number of residents of the city’s neighboring provinces have signified interest to also avail of the housing program.

Owing to this, Rivera said he has commissioned experts from the Mindanao State University here to conduct a study to help identify the qualified families for the scheme.

The city government has facilitated the resettlement in the past several years of around 6,000 families through various private and government-led socialized housing programs.

The beneficiaries of the earlier housing programs were identified based on the requirements set by Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992.

UDHA is a government framework that provides security and housing tenure for poor residents, especially the informal settlers.

It mandated local government units to provide socialized housing projects for the relocation of informal settlers and allocate funds to address squatting and other related housing problems.

Rivera earlier said the city government will pursue the relocation this year of residents situated in several calamity dangers zones, especially those who were affected by the perennial flooding along the Silway River.

Hundreds of families that were situated in communities near the Silway River were forced to evacuate several times in the last three years due to the swelling of the river’s waters.

Silway River, which flows to Sarangani Bay, is the main outlet of several river-tributaries from the upland areas in nearby South Cotabato province.

Several portions of the dike along the Silway River earlier suffered breaches and eventually collapsed following heavy rains in the area. (MindaNews)