PGMA to develop new resettlement sites

October 3, 2009 4:35 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 3 — The national government will develop new resettlement sites for typhoon “Ondoy” evacuees, who were found to be residents of low-lying areas in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

“If my father had his Sapang Palay and my predecessors developed the Dasmarinas (Cavite) resettlement area, then we must develop San Mateo, Montalban, Calauan and San Miguel (Bulacan) as the new Dasmarinas,” said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the Cabinet level National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting held at Camp Aguinaldo this morning.

She reiterated her instruction to Vice President and concurrent Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Noli de Castro and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito Atienza to fast track the identification and certification of safety of new resettlement sites for “Ondoy” evacuees.

“The sooner they are relocated, the better for them to regain normalcy in their lives,” the President said, stressing they must not be allowed to return to their old sites where they risk lives and properties in future disasters.

The President, during a private lunch with Marikina mayor Lourdes Fernando, said that river bank dwellers must not be permitted to return to their old sites .

The President also asked NDCC to closely coordinate with the provincial and municipal Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs) in determining their immediate requirements for rescue, relief, and rehabilitation requirements as well as their relocation needs.

“We must always have a standby aircraft to deliver relief goods and the NDCC must coordinate with amateur radio (transceiver) groups to augment their communication facilities,” the President said.

In the case of “Ondoy,“ she said the towers of telecommunication companies, Globe and Smart, went under water, thereby crippling Mega Manila’s communications capabilities.

Meanwhile, the President reported ongoing flood control projects in Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) area will be finished by the end of this year. Dredging of the Pasig, Marikina, San Juan, and Antipolo rivers are top priority, she said.

“Our P1.5-billion investment in flood control is unprecedented,” she said.

The President also tasked the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) to make funds available for a flood control program that will ensure that Malacañang, as the country’s seat of power, will be spared from the constant overflow of the Pasig River. (PNA)

RMA/OPS/rsm

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