Deloso mulls housing, dike reconstruction to start Botolan rehab
by Allen Villa
Iba, Zambales (9 October) -- As soon as the rains stop Zambales Governor Amor Deloso lined up socialized housing and the Bucao River dike reconstruction as among the priority infrastructures the provincial government will undertake to rehabilitate the town of Botolan.
Botolan was badly ravaged by a series of typhoons and torrential rains that started with tropical storm Kiko last August 6, inundating 10 of its 31 barangays and displacing almost 5,000 families due to flash floods that destroyed some 600 houses.
Governor Deloso said that it is high time for the victims of the calamity to seek safer grounds to live, especially those residents from Barangays Carael, Batonlapoc, lower San Juan area and Paudpod.
Among the flooded barangays, the four mentioned areas took severe beating as flash floods containing rolling rocks and mud buried houses in the vicinity when the dike along the Bucao River was breached by rampaging waters.
The provincial government, Deloso said, is in the process of developing the master plan for a 4,000-unit socialized housing project which will be put up in upper San Juan, in a 52-hectare land he himself donated. The piece of land is near the still-to-be completed Iba-Tarlac road.
Deloso cannot readily estimate how much will a unit cost but said that road construction alone will amount to around P61 million.
"We are trying to lessen the cost of the project so that the beneficiaries will not have a hard time paying for their units," the governor said in Tagalog but also said that they will make the units elegant just like those subdivision homes created by Camella.
"Many of those whose houses were destroyed belong to the middle income earners and some have relatives abroad or came from abroad so we are giving them a chance to relive what they have before this calamity struck," he clarified.
Lessening the cost, he said, would entail a concerted effort from all the stakeholders-the provincial and the national government including DSWD and other concerned NGAs-plus kindhearted benefactors.
"The noble deed of these benefactors will not be put to naught as we will acknowledge their work by using their names to tag streets and blocks of the housing project," Deloso quickly said.
He will also involve all the able-bodied evacuees as laborers for the housing units through food-for-work program or directly employ them with minimum wage pays.
As for the renovation of the dike, Gov. Deloso reiterated his appeal to the national government for funding because the provincial government, he said, cannot afford the estimated amount to be used for the reconstruction.
"Improving the dike from the previous sand, soil and concrete component to a more solid, concreted steel type is pegged at around P200 million covering the whole 10 kilometer stretch," the governor said.
He also renewed his offer to those who need sand for personal use to extract from the Bucao River bed for free and help dredge and desilt the area.
"Those who will be using it for commercial purposes will be allowed to extract sand at a discounted price. Proceeds from this operation will be used to lessen the cost of the dike reconstruction or for the socialized housing project," Deloso added.
He said that the area is also rich with black sand, a mineral used for making steel, and invited interested businessmen to inquire at the governor's office for the requirements in processing the permits.
Meanwhile, relief operations are continuously being undertaken by the provincial government through the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC).
As of October 5, PDCC reports more than 5,800 families or close to 23,500 individuals have been affected by the spate of typhoons that hit the province.
Around P21 million have been spent for relief operations and other assistance as of August 22, 2009.
This week, donations from the Makati City government amounting to half a million for 1,800 families and 25 sacks of rice from the Victory Liner, Inc. bus company arrived.
The 25 sacks was added to the previous 50 sacks donation by the same company last week.(PIA-Zambales) [top]