ALL families living within the three-meter easement of Cebu City’s major waterways will be assured of housing programs courtesy of the city and the national governments.

Jerone Castillo, who is tasked by Mayor Michael Rama to handle special projects in the city, said on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, that there are around 4,000 families that need to be relocated.

Castillo, a lawyer, said the data is the result of their tagging of structures that are built within the three-meter easement of the City’s eight major waterways.

The families that will soon be displaced will not have to worry since the Cebu City Government is preparing various housing projects that they can take advantage of, he added.

This could be in the form of a housing loan through the government’s Pag-ibig Fund.

The families may also avail themselves of the City Government’s socialized housing program.

Another option for the families is the housing program of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), said Castillo.

The City and DHSUD previously entered into a memorandum of understanding for the construction of affordable 30,000 housing units in November last year.

According to Castillo, during the tagging of structures and profiling of occupants, they found out that some residents have a monthly income of around P50,000.

“We were surprised that they were living along the city’s three-meter easement when they have the capacity to buy housing units,” he said in Cebuano.

Castillo said they will still let these residents avail themselves of the government’s affordable housing programs despite their current financial situation.

For those who cannot afford to acquire their own houses, the City will be prioritizing them in the medium-rise buildings (MRBs) that still has to be constructed.

Collin Rosell, secretary of Rama, said that this year, MRBs will begin to rise along the City’s waterfront, specifically at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Rosell, a lawyer, explained that the SRP will be divided into portions wherein commercial establishments and residential areas will be developed along with the construction of a monorail for mass public transportation.

Rosell added that the MRBs would be constructed starting from Barangay Duljo-Fatima all the way to Inayawan.

The MRB will have five floors and can accommodate around 100 to 140 families, Rosell added.

According to Rosell, the families that will occupy the City’s MRBs will also be given employment opportunities and livelihood training to uplift their way of life.

Once their lives will improve, they can now vacate the MRBs and look for houses that they can legally own, he added.

Rosell also mentioned that the City is also partnering with Pag-ibig to provide affordable housing programs for City Hall employees.

The largest chunk of the City’s 2023 annual budget has been allocated for the construction of MRBs with a budget allocation of P26 billion.

Last June 2022, the City received its first MRB worth P115 million in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel. It was donated by a private land developer in compliance with the balanced housing development section of the Urban Development and Housing Act.

Rama had previously said that the MRB will be opened to those members of the “aspiring sector” and those who are affected by the river improvement project of the city government.