CEBU CITY, Philippines — The river widening and deepening projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) has a bigger chance of being implemented sooner after the Cebu City Council finally approved the release of financial assistance to the families who will be affected by these projects.
The council passed a P3.2 million allocation for the financial assistance of the 62 families from Barangays Tejero, Tinago, Mambaling, and Pasil.
There will be 18 families who will benefit from the financial assistance in the riversides in Mambaling, 22 families from Tejero, 22 as well from Pasil, and 48 families from Tinago.
The Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) has listed the families who will be provided with the assistance.
Councilor Raymond Garcia, the chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, told CDN Digital that the funds are not from the city coffers, but are from the P140 million budget of the DPWH national office for the drainage works right of way (ROW) acquisition.
The P140 million has been allotted for Cebu City since 2018 but remained unused due to the difficulties in the ROW acquisition.
The DPWH has been repeatedly asking the Cebu City government to help in the relocation of the 700 informal settlers in the riversides.
“This financial assistance would really help the DPWH fastrack their projects. The financial assistance will help the settlers find a new place to stay prior to the demolition,” said Garcia.
Councilor Jerry Guardo, the chairman of the committee on infrastructure, told CDN Digital that the financial assistance will already be distributed to the beneficiaries as soon as possible.
However, the informal settlers will still be gathered for an orientation on how the financial assistance will be distributed, as well as when they need to be relocated.
Guardo said that the P140 million was supposed to be for the relocation facility such as public housing for the riverside settlers, but the council feared that the project may take too long.
“With the financial assistance we can distribute them immediately, unlike a housing project, which may take years to be constructed,” said Guardo.
The councilor will also facilitate the distribution of the financial aid in the barangays in the coming days.
“We should expect that the river projects will be fastracked by now,” said Guardo. /rcg