NHA to turn over 180 housing units to Manggahan informal settlers

MANILA-- A total of 180 units in medium-rise buildings for informal settlers living at the Manggahan floodway will be completed on Aug. 15, the day their houses are expected to be demolished by the Pasig City government, an official of the National Housing Authority (NHA) has said.

In a recent interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Ma. Teresa Oblipias, officer-in-charge of the NHA's office in the National Capital Region, said these units are part of the targeted 900 units in five-storey buildings that are being constructed by the NHA for the families that will be affected by the clearing of the Manggahan floodway.

Of the 900 relocation units, 120 had already been completed and have been occupied by some of the affected families as early as 2015.

More units are expected to be completed by December, Oblipias said, noting that each unit measures about 24 sq. meters. Families will not be asked to pay any down payment but units will be priced differently based on the floor they are in, she said.

Oblipias said each family will have to pay a monthly amortization of PHP600 if their unit is on the fifth floor, PHP700 if it is on the fourth floor, PHP800 if on the third floor, PHP900 if on the second floor, and PHP1,000 if on the ground floor, which is the most convenient location. The unit is payable over a period of 30 years.

The informal settlers, who have been occupying a 2,000-hectare government property along the floodway's East Bank Road, have called on housing officials to act urgently on their request for the completion of their relocation site, as they fear displacement during the impending demolition of their houses.

In an earlier interview with PNA, Glen Edel Rapada, president of the Kapitbhayan Homeowners Association, under the umbrella group of the Alliance of People's Organization Along Manggahan Floodway, said an eviction notice had been issued to them by the Pasig City government, informing them that they should vacate their houses pending the demolition within the year.

Rapada estimated that the demolition would adversely affect about 900 families.

She said the latest eviction notice that was served to them by the local government was on April 24. The deadline lapsed last May 24. According to her, a second deadline for them to vacate their houses was set on July 24.

Rapada noted that the relocation site is still being constructed by the NHA at the so called embankment situated at the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) depot, and is not ready for occupancy. About 15 buildings will be built by the government in the relocation site, she said.

According to her, the city government has offered to give each affected family a PHP20,000 financial assistance to enable them to rent a temporary shelter while their relocation site is being readied.

Hindi po namin yun tinatanggap dahil hindi naman po yun ang aming stand. Ang stand po namin ay tapusin muna ang lilipatan namin bago kami baklasin (We have not accepted the amount because we want them to finish the relocation site before they demolish our houses), she said.

Recado Cadena, board member of the organization Pinagbuklod, said this is to ensure that the families will not be displaced in case the city government reneges on its promise to give them units at the relocation site once they have moved to their temporary rented shelters.

Rapada expressed fear that their families would be displaced if they are not properly relocated by the government.

We tried to convince the city government to wait for our project to be completed. Unfortunately, they are in a hurry, Oblipias said, adding that the Pasig City government has proposed to move those who cannot be immediately accommodated in the NHA relocation site to the city government's Eusebio Bliss Housing for the meantime.

However, there has been no word if the affected families have accepted the offer, Oblipias said.

Source: Philippine News Agency