Solon alarmed over lack of basic amenities at relocation sites

November 29, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 93 views

SENATOR Raffy Tulfo expressed his concern over the plight of informal settler families (ISFs) who were relocated to areas lacking basic amenities and with no access to mass transportation.

During the hybrid hearing of the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing, and Resettlement on bills seeking to improve government resettlement programs, Tulfo stressed that government should have a “clear plan” before letting informal settlers move into their new homes.

In particular, he underscored the need to communicate with utility companies to ensure that important services, including electricity and water, are already available in said housing and resettlement areas provided to ISFs.

“May mga reklamo akong natatanggap mula sa mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan na ang mga bahay na pinaglipatan sa kanila ay walang kuryente, walang tubig, hindi maayos ang sewage system, sira-sira ang dingding, tumutulo ang bubong at malamok,” Tulfo said.

“Minsan mas mabuti pa nga ang mga tangkal ng mga baboy: may kuryente, may tubig, may tamang ventilation. Ang mga tao sa mga resettlement areas, kawawang-kawawa,” he continued.

Tulfo stressed that the current practice of utility companies requiring a minimum number of people in the community before providing them with water and electricity lines should be removed because it only puts occupants at a disadvantage.

In calling for the need to address road problems in resettlement areas, Tulfo said that inhabitants, especially students, would still have to walk for one to two km before accessing mass transportation.

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Undersecretary Avelino Tolentino III acknowledged the issues, saying that they will be reviewing existing sites and making sure to provide lacking services and meet the immediate needs of occupants.

The senator from Isabela and Davao, meanwhile, proposed the use of the National ID system to easily distinguish between ISFs and professional squatters that are taking advantage of the government housing program.

He shared that professional squatters “sell” the property awarded to them to interested sellers before looking for a new place to settle informally again.

Ultimately, Tulfo underscored the need to put up barangay and police outposts in resettlement areas to ensure peace and order and avoid crimes in the community.