June 16, 2015
The Catholic Church through its social action arm has lauded the city government of Tacloban for its deferment of the planned eviction of 3,000 families living in the danger zones of the city.
National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez made the statement following the city council’s recent issuance of a resolution, postponing the planned eviction on July 1 until permanent shelters are available.
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and the city council for heeding to our people’s call not to forcibly transfer them until permanent shelters are available,” Gariguez said in a statement.
Gariguez also appreciated the outcome of the recent dialogue led by the Urban Poor Associates between community leaders and the mayor, which set records straight that there will be no forced eviction of 3,000 families.
The mayor clarified to residents of coastal barangays that they would only be implementing voluntary transfer to those who wish to avail the 200 temporary housing units available in the northern barangays.
So far, the city government through the National Housing Authority is planning to construct about 14,333 permanent housing units in the northern part of Tacloban. The NHA said that 3,000 to 5,000 of these permanent houses are expected to be completed before the year ends.
This is apart from the shelter projects by non-government organizations such as the proposed Pope Francis Village, a permanent in-city relocation site in Barangay Diit in Tacloban City which would accommodate at least 550 displaced families in the city.
The project, which is led by the Urban Poor Associates, Canadian Catholic for Development and Peace, NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the Archdiocese of Palo, and the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, is expected to be completed by next year.
It can be recalled that NASSA/Caritas Philippines expressed alarm over reports of a so-called forced eviction after a consultation with members of the affected communities along Old Road Sagkahan, which were among those badly hit by the storm surge when Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the city in 2013.
The church supported the people’s opposition to the said proposal to transfer them to temporary shelters because of lack of adequate electricity, water and livelihood in the relocation area.
JING REY HENDERSON
Senior Communications Officer
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924