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 Informal Settlers Asked to Accept QC Mayor’s Relocation Offer

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PostSubject: Informal Settlers Asked to Accept QC Mayor’s Relocation Offer    Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:48 am

MANILA, Philippines – A Quezon City congressman said it is necessary to regularly coordinate with barangay officials to enable the city government and concerned agencies to respond appropriately to emergencies among at least 2,000 families living in identified high risk areas.

Representative Jorge “Bolet’’ Banal Jr. of the city’s third district appealed to informal settlers staying under bridges and living near the waterways to voluntarily evacuate and accept the relocation offer of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

“They are living dangerously as dwellers near the waterways and high risk areas are facing extreme threat in the event the rivers, esteros, canals, creeks and ponds overflow during continuous heavy rains,’’ Banal said.

On orders of Bautista, the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) has placed under close monitoring the areas of Ibayo near the Bagbag Creek and Culiat Bridge II in Barangay Bahay-Toro; the Binhi ni Abraham area in Barangay Bagong Silangan; Dario Bridge in Barangay Masambong, Culiat Bridge IV along Mindanao Avenue and barangays Sta. Lucia; Sta. Monica; North Fairview; West Fairview and other areas near Tullahan River.

In the Ibayo area alone, the DPOS reported at least 800 families are living within the danger zone as Bagbag Creek is prone to flash floods during heavy rains.

Bautista ordered the DPOS and other concerned offices to step up efforts to protect local residents against natural and man-made calamities such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes, erosions and landslides and other eventualities which could bring considerable damage to properties and loss of lives.

Under the executive order, all member department/offices, task forces and units under the Quezon City Coordinating Council are called upon to organize teams in ensuring a quick response to any needs and problems that may arise in times of disasters.

Banal cited Bautista’s move saying there is an urgent need to reinforce the city’s disaster coordinating council by redefining its functions and composition to make it more responsive to the needs of the people.

Even during the summer months, Joselito Cabungcal, head of the Quezon City Engineering Department (QCED), said that his men continuously cleared the city’s inlets, canals, creeks, canals, esteros, ponds and drainage system in anticipation of the rainy season.

He called on concerned lawmakers to enact laws enforcing hefty fines to litterbugs or groups of unscrupulous individuals indiscriminately dumping garbage on the drainage systems and waterways, citing them as the major cause of heavy flooding.

“Due to rapid industrialization characterized by concrete and well-paved roads there is a decline in the absorption of rain water resulting into flash floods. But the inlets should remain unobstructed to allow the quicker receding time of rain water on the streets,” Cabungcal said.

Cabungcal said that his men have retrieved as much as 750 fully-laden trucks of garbage three days after the city’s flood control team conducted a similar dredging and desilting operation in the waterways of a particular area in the city.

He reiterated that the city’s professional engineering personnel became “glamorized garbage collectors’’ as they are busy cleaning the city’s drainage mains collecting mountains of discarded materials composed mostly of plastic items.

“You all know what plastic materials can do to our drainage system. Non-biodegradable materials will last almost a lifetime in obstructing the flow of flood water causing heavy flooding of long duration on the streets,’’ Cabungcal said.

Chito Chavez, Manila Bulletin
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