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PIA Press Release

PGMA awards security tenure certificates to informal settlers in Calbayog City

By Ninfa B Quirante

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo distributed Secure Tenure Certificates to some 1, 700 Calbayog City informal settlers through the presidents of several housing cooperatives all over the city of Calbayog.

According to Assistant City Administrator Alan Diomangay the so called informal settlers (squatters) were relocated to different areas throughout the city. The City government led by Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, has devised ways and means to relocate them with the cheapest cost of three to four pesos per day.

These informal settlers lived in areas of high risks of being swept out to sea or being washed away by flooding due to swelling of rivers during stormy weather.

The city government then, approached the land owners of the areas where there are squatters. It was the city government which negotiated sale of the private land to the government itself and in turn the recipient pays the lot according to his capacity to pay. Diomangay said some would pay as low as P3.00 to P 6.00 a day. The payment will last for 25 years, he added.

Others too lived in lots owned by the government, though legally transferred. This comprises some 20% of the land area occupied by the informal settlers. Still, the city has a lot more of them, but Calbayog City envisions a better, more secure places for them. But Diomangay said, this has to be addressed one at a time.

The relocation area has now totalled some ten hectares. The organized homeowners association came in droves to see the President though only their officers were invited to participate in the ceremonial distribution.

Others were just content to wave to the President who brought a flicker of hope to these poor families. Yolanda Villar, one of the cooperative presidents said she is happy with the coming of the President who unveiled mostly pro-poor projects initiated by the City government. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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