Relocation eyed for island folks

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


RELOCATION sites in Camotes and Bantayan that only have tax declarations will be acquired for Yolanda survivors.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide will send assessors to these islands to help local governments.

However, there is a requirement, said Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Sano in an interview.

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“The reality is we cannot relocate everyone, we don’t have enough resources to do that,” Sano said, referring to fishermen in these islands who live in danger zones.

Shelter Cluster Coordinator Steve Barton, earlier, said those who need help to recover will be the first to receive relocation assistance.

“We are now addressing vulnerability,” said Barton.

Davide has not yet received any update from Presidential Assistance on Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) as Task Force Paglig-on head Baltazar Tribunalo is still preparing the final damage assessment report for the agency.

Titled

Relocation site lots must be titled, the main requirement of funding agencies and government agencies before releasing funds for the purchase, said Davide.

This was brought up by Bantayan Mayor Ian Escario in his meeting with mayors last Saturday.

Some mayors are worried as the Commission on Audit might disallow property purchases based on tax declarations.

The whole Bantayan and Camotes islands, which were hard hit by typhoon Yolanda, are still classified as “wilderness” and their lots cannot be titled.

The governor is sending Capitol’s assessors to look into the lots there.

Davide said they will use tax declarations in acquiring these lots.

The Capitol extended P1.5-million cash assistance to Tudela town in Camotes for relocation site.

In Poro town, the family of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale is donating a portion of their property.

Magpale admitted that her father acquired them through tax declarations.

Seashores, where fishermen live, are considered no-build-zones so they must be relocated.

“You don’t have enough resources yet to provide homes for everyone on safer grounds,” said Sano.

He said it is a complex social undertaking if you relocate everyone. As an example, he said, it’s a complicated situation if you put away fisherfolks, who depend on seas, from the sea.

One of his suggestions is to have storm surge shelters.

“As an emergency measure, storm surge shelters can provide as refuge at the most critical point of a supertyphoon,” Sano said.

Islets

The same situation, but with a different approach in addressing the problems in the small islets of Biayagayag Diot and Silagon, both in Barangay Sulangan, in Bantayan town, are also suggested.

Tribunalo said there are 70 families in Biayagayag Diot islet, which is set for relocation in the mainland Barangay Sulangan.

Another 77 families in the shores of Silagon islet will be relocated to the islet’s higher grounds.

Tribunalo said residents can retain their houses, in danger zones, but only for their boats and fishing implements. These danger zone houses will also accommodate tourists during summertime so residents can earn extra income.

Barton said they are focusing more on damage vulnerability.

He said there are vulnerable households who need help to recover. He said their priorities are the PWDs, children, senior citizens, and those without a man in the house.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 06, 2014.

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