Pasig River body starts relocation of informal settlers living along estero

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) will be relocating some 270 informal settler families along Estero de Magdalena in Tondo, Manila beginning June 20 (Thursday).

PRRC, in coordination with the National Housing Authority and local inter-agency committee  (LIAC), will relocate the ISFs along Estero de Magdalena to Summer Homes in Trece Martires, Cavite.

(Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission  / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) (Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Estero de Magdalena is one of the 47 identified tributaries of the Pasig River that suffers from immense solid and liquid waste pollution problems.

It has been one of the priority projects of the PRRC with an allocated budget of around P17 million for its conversion into an environmental preservation area spanning 1,060 linear meters from Mayhaligue Street (Metropolitan Hospital) to Recto Avenue.

The 270 families will be resettled in batches on June 20, 21, 26, and 27.

They had previously undergone social preparation through community dialogues, documentary completion, and site trips/inspections organized by PRRC with LIAC.

Each validated family will be given financial assistance under “Oplan Likas” by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be in charge of the logistical provisions, such as rice, canned goods, and beverages.

“We express our sincerest gratitude to all our partners, most especially to Trece Martires Mayor Melandres de Sagun for keeping his promise of helping us find safer homes for the families of Estero de Magdalena. We believe that Mayor-elect Gemma Lubigan will help us continue this noble humanitarian effort to save our countrymen from living in a dangerous environment,” PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia said.

“The relocation of 270 informal settler families of Estero de Magdalena is also part of our commitment to fast track the rehabilitation of the Pasig River, which also contributes largely to the Manila Bay rehabilitation,” he added.

Based on the National Solid Waste Management Status Report from 2008 to 2014, the synthesized waste generation rates in Metro Manila or the average weight of solid waste generated by an individual per day is approximately 0.7 percent kilograms.

Applying this to the case of Estero de Magdalena, the relocation of 270 ISFs, with an average household size of four persons each, equates to the diversion of approximately 303,534 kilograms of solid waste annually.

Meanwhile, PRRC’s River Patrol Unit will lead the simultaneous dismantling of illegal structures vacated by the ISFs in collaboration with the Metro Manila Development Authority and Manila’s  City Engineering Office.

PRRC will be providing trucks for the transport of the ISF’s belongings and air-conditioned vans as they move to their new homes.