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PIA Press Release

Consider livelihoods of squatters being relocated, PGMA orders NHA

Manila (19 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reminded yesterday officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) that whenever possible, informal settlers being relocated to government housing projects should continue to have access to their jobs and other sources of livelihood.

The President issued the directive to the NHA during a visit to Barangay Santol in Quezon City yesterday morning to look into the plight of "multiple families" living in 60 decrepit structures outside the fence of the Carlos Albert High School campus, and to hold an informal dialogue with local barangay officials and residents.

Aside from the squatters huddled off the Carlos Alberto High School, 30 more are living on the sidewalks of Palanza St.

The NHA-National Capital Region (NCR) had proposed the relocation of the Barangay Santol squatters to Palawan but the President thumbed down the NHA plan, saying the proposed site "is too far" for their own good.

"Find more lands in San Jose del Monte… or in Montalban….because their jobs are here," she told Director Francisco Alican of NHA-NCR.

"In the meantime, let's look at Montalban. The area is very conducive to family living," she added.

The President also awarded a certificate to operate a "Tindahan Natin" to Pacencia de Torres and handed over to Barangay Santol Chairman Daniel Sakay 100 "PGMA Training for Work Scholarship Certificates."

The "Tindahan Natin," one of the priority projects of the Chief Executive, seeks to reduce hunger and poverty of the poorest of the poor. The "Tindahan" program is under the auspices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Food Authority (NFA).

The "Tindahan Natin" sells basic commodities, including rice, noodles, sugar and coffee, at prices lower than the prevailing retail market prices.

The "PGMA Training for Work Scholarship" program, which is being implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), addresses the skills needs of workers, especially the out-of-school youth and the unemployed.

The President said the 100 scholarship certificates for the residents of Barangay Santol are for the skills training programs for welders, call center agents and butchers.

She expressed satisfaction that the "Botika sa Barangay" has maintained adequate inventory of cheap but quality medicines for common illnesses such as hypertension, cough and colds, diarrhea, among others.

The "Botika sa Barangay" is one of the other pro-poor projects of the Arroyo administration.

Other concerns brought to the attention of the President by the barangay residents included the need for more fire hydrants and a vehicle impounding area.

She instructed Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Bayani Fernando to act immediately on the problems raised by the residents.

The President was warmly welcomed by the residents, who gathered in front of the barangay hall as early as 9 a.m. Among her welcomers were about 40 Day Care Center pupils.

Also present were Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Quezon City Representative Nanette Daza (4th Dist.), TESDA NCR Director Gabriel Bordado and Evelyn Medalla of the National Food Authority (NFA). (OPS/PIA) [top]

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