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2,400 Tondo families to get housing units – Arroyo

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Some 2,400 urban poor families in two communities in Tondo, Manila will finally get their own housing units that was promised them almost two decades ago—thanks to the House of Representatives after it exercised its oversight functions.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lauded Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez for taking swift steps in pushing for the implementation of Executive Order No. 108—an order issued during her presidency—which formally transfers the ownership of a lot owned by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to the actual occupants of the Farola compound.

EO 108 was issued by Arroyo during her first year in office as chief executive in 2001.

According to Arroyo, Benitez who chairs the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development was instrumental in gettingthe government agencies to agree on implementing the housing project for informal settlers in Isla Puting Bato.

Benitez recently authored of House Resolution No. 2067 that led to the inquiry over the alleged failure of government to implement EO 108 and two other executive proclamations for housing that were issued by Arroyo during her presidency.

Arroyo and Benitez witnessed the signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that in effect, will save residents of Isla Puting Bato and Farola compound from being relocated outside Manila to give way to the Manila Bay rehabilitation project.

The 2,000 urban poor families who will benefit from the signed memorandum of agreement for the housing program face relocation as a result of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

Benitez said the MOU provided for the setting aside of a five-hectare property of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Tondo, Manila to house the more than 2,000 informal settler families living in Isla Puting Bato off Manila Bay.

Under the agreement, the PPA will allocate five hectares and construct the housing units in coordination with port operators International Container Terminal Services Inc. and the Manila North Harbor Port Inc.

The NHA under the MOU will identify the qualified recipients while the City Government of Manila will help in the implementation of the project.

Benitez stressed that close to P1 billion will be allotted for the project by the PPA, revealed Benitez.

The Negros solon also revealed that a committee headed by HUDCC has agreed to implement the Arroyo-issued directive that will benefit 65 families from Farola.

The lawmaker added that all that is being discussed now ‘is the pricing’ of the GSIS-owned property.

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