DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The City Council’s Housing Committee chief said around 125 urban poor families will benefit from the local shelter plan once Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio approves of its 39-billion-peso budget.

Councilor Rene Elias Lopez, Chairperson of the Committee on Housing, Rural and Urban Development, announced in a press conference on April 17, Tuesday that the local housing board has already approved the local shelter plan for the citys homeless urban poor families.

“If the local shelter plan gains the approval from both the executive and legislative, then this will be a very important day for us Davaoeñoes because our housing problem in the city will be finally addressed,” said Lopez.

The plan aims to give decent houses to those who are living in the squatter areas, in danger-zone areas and those who are living in private lands that are about to be evicted and demolished.

There is an estimated 59,000 housing backlog in the city, according to national agencies.

Up for purchase by the city government are 103 hectares of available lots for housing. The city is targeting to buy 225 hectares in the next five years.

“These lots are being evaluated according to its suitability and zoning qualification. And hopefully, if we come up with the right price then the city might be able to acquire it,” said Lopez.

Meanwhile, Councilor Antoinette Principe, Chairperson of the Committee on Civil, Human, and Political rights, has a pending item on the investigation for the reported inhumane treatment of informal settlers who were evicted from a private land in riverside Maa.

Principe said they were told the eviction occurred at around 3:00 or 4:00 AM at Camarine, Riverside Maa-a, and there were allegations of abuses.

“We have already conducted two committee hearings to settle the issue. We will also be conducting ocular visits with the help of the City Planning at their relocation site to see if the site is fit for residence,” Principe said.

A memorandum of agreement was signed by both parties the owner and the residents which provided for the provision of a relocation site.

Some 89 families were evicted but only 14 families have transferred to the relocation site at Brgy. Bato, Toril wherein there is a lack of water and electrical amenities.

“I told them that before you sign in any agreement, you have to be careful because you must abide by what is stated on the paper. But the contention of the residents is that the owner promised that they will be provided with basic services. That is where the checkmate is,” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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