PGMA orders relocation of Lupang Arenda settlers

March 9, 2010 11:16 pm 

MANILA, March 9 — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo instructed Tuesday the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to immediately relocate almost 200,000 informal settlers living along the shorelines of Laguna de Bay.

Interviewed after today’s joint Cabinet-National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) meeting in Malacanang, LLDA General Manager Edgardo Manda said the President directed the LLDA to continue the rehabilitation of Lupang Arenda where some 30,000 families or 180,000 individuals are residing to prevent further pollution of Asia’s second largest freshwater basin.

Originally designated as protected wetlands, the 200-hectare Lupang Arenda has been converted into a resettlement site after being used as a clandestine dumpsite until 2001.

Manda said the relocation will take place during the summer months so that the informal settlers will also be moved to safer grounds before the onset of the rainy season.

Manda said LLDA will coordinate with the office of Vice President Noli de Castro and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council for the relocation of the informal settlers, possibly in Montalban and Baras, both in Rizal province.

Last year, the President made surprise visits to the Manggahan Floodway and Napindan Spillway when both water channels overflowed during tropical storm Ondoy, and caused massive flooding in Metro Manila.

Numerous structures in Lupang Arenda were found blocking the two water channels while the water level at Laguna de Bay remained dangerously high for several months. (PNA)

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