Change of plans for Naga landslide victims?

IT HAS been almost a year since a massive landslide hit Barangay Tina-an in the City of Naga on Sept. 20, 2018, killing 78 persons who were all buried alive.

For Mayor Valdemar Chiong, one way to commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragedy would be for the National Housing Authority (NHA) to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its housing project for survivors.

“We want, hopefully, NHA to do the groundbreaking. At least the people will be assured that there is really a project for them. We don’t have a hold of that because it’s the agency’s project, but we were assured by the NHA that it is underway because they’ve already done the pre-bidding process,” Chiong said on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019.

The mayor, though, said he has received reports that the NHA allegedly planned to implement a socialized housing scheme where the families will be made to pay for their houses, instead of the free housing assistance promised to those who availed themselves of its program.

He lamented that the City has not even set equity conditions to its housing beneficiaries since they are calamity survivors.

“We wrote them (NHA) a letter, and Secretary (Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael) Dino will bring it up,” Chiong said.

In the aftermath of the landslide, the City Government gave P150,000 each to around 444 families.

These families used to live in the “maroon” or critical zone, which is within Ground Zero of the landslide. They were prohibited from returning to their homes to avoid untoward incidents.

The families received P50,000 as humanitarian assistance, another P50,000 if the family’s house was destroyed in the landslide or during the search and retrieval operations and another P50,000 if they refused to avail themselves of the relocation sites offered by the National Government.

As soon as they received the cash assistance, they were required to leave the evacuation site and relocate to another area far from where their houses used to stand.

Those who accepted the free housing assistance provided by the NHA had to wait before they could get a housing unit.

In an earlier report, the NHA had committed to construct close to 200 houses on a portion of the Balili Property that was identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as safe for construction. The City had also pledged to build around 50 houses.

Chiong said the City has started constructing the houses it will turn over to survivors. (RTF)


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