The City Government of Valenzuela, in cooperation with the National Housing Authority (NHA), successfully transferred 29 out of 140 families from a community in R. Delfin St. in Barangay Marulas to Northville II-A Resettlement Site in Brgy. Canumay last April 26, 2011.
According to Thess Maquiña, a social worker from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), most of the residents have been staying there for the past 40 years. The interior of R. Delfin Street lies along the banks of the Tullahan River and was severely ravaged by the havoc caused by typhoonOndoy. “The current then was so strong that we have to evacuate all of the families here to the Valenzuela National High School (VNHS) compound,” said Maquiña, who happens to live nearby. The CSWDO started surveying the site immediately after the tragedy.
Typhoon “Ondoy” (Ketsana) was regarded as the worst tropical storm to hit Manila since “Patsy” in 1970. In September 26, 2009, it submerged various parts of the National Capital Region in a matter of hours leaving a catastrophe that lasted for weeks and damages estimated at more than 6 billion pesos.
Ms. Ellen Reyes of Valenzuela City’s Housing and Resettlement Office led a team composed of various City Government offices in conducting the relocation. “We are doing our best to speed things up. We have until the end of May (2011) to relocate the rest in anticipation of the typhoon season,” She said.
Providing transportation for the residents was the City Motorpool, while the Internal Security Group (ISG) maintained order during the transfer process. The City Engineering Office dismantled the structures that were evacuated in order to prevent other informal settlers from re-occupying the danger zone.
Representatives from the NHA, led by Architect Maria Teresa Oblipias, Sector Manager of NHA’s DAMANAVA area, and agents from the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) were also present to assess other needs of the residents and to ensure that the relocation conforms with the standards set forth by the national government.
Marlon Cruz, a resident, briefly described the relocation as “orderly” and “well coordinated.” A father of four children, Cruz is now looking forward at a better future for his family. “Dito na ako lumaki. Masakit sa kalooban ko na lumikas, pero nung nakita ko yung nangyari sa pamilya ko nung Ondoy, hindi na ko nagdalawang-isip nang alukin kami ng gobyerno na lumipat. (I grew up in this place. It is hard for me to leave, but every time I remember what happened to my family during Ondoy, I did not think twice when the government asked us to be relocated.)”
The Aquino administration announced recently that a resettlement plan is being concocted for informal settlers in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. The major reason encountered for resisting relocation is how far the relocation site is from their place of residence. “Nagpapasalamat kami kay Mayor WIN Gatchalian sa pagpupursige niya na sa Valenzuela pa rin kami mairelocate. Maganda at ligtas naman yung lilipatan sa Northville, bakit pa kami tatanggi? (We are thankful of Mayor WIN Gatchalian for working out an in-city relocation for us. Our new home in Northville is safer and looks better, why would we refuse?)” Cruz concluded.