Acquiring land hampers government’s relocation efforts in Typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas

Environmental activists light candles at UP Diliman on Thursday, to commemorate the second year since Typhoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines on November 8, 2013.  The Category 5 super typhoon claimed the lives of more than 6,300 people and caused severe damage in Eastern Visayas.(MNS photo)

Environmental activists light candles at UP Diliman on Thursday, to commemorate the second year since Typhoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines on November 8, 2013. The Category 5 super typhoon claimed the lives of more than 6,300 people and caused severe damage in Eastern Visayas.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The government is having difficulty acquiring lands that would serve as relocation sites for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda that’s why there are some delays on the transfer of families who are still living in bunkhouses especially in Tacloban City, a Palace official said on Saturday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday that the tracts of land initially identified by the government have some problem forcing it not to buy the land.

“Hindi po nagkatuluyan (land purchase) dahil mayroon po palang problema doon sa mga lupa na in-identify para naman po sa national government,” she told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan.

“Malaki po talagang challenge ang land acquisition pagdating doon sa pagtatayo po natin ng mga permanenteng pabahay para po doon sa mga biktima.”

Asked to compare the post-‘Yolanda’ rebuilding problems to US government efforts to rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Valte said even a wealthy country as the US has struggled to rehabilitate disaster areas.

Typhoon Yolanda was also devastating compared to Hurricane Katrina that hit the US.

But the Philippines fairs well in its rebuilding initiatives, Valte said noting that even multilateral agencies like the United Nations and the World Bank have praised the government for its very effective process of rebuilding.

Valte also cited a National Housing Authority data regarding the shelter construction efforts by the government.

The NHA completed 17,641 units while the construction of 41,566 units are ongoing, she said. Also, 929 housing units were turned over to families in Tanuan and Tacloban City, Leyte.

About 1,500 families have been relocated to permanent housing sites in Ridgeview Park, in Villa Sofia, as well as Villa Diana and these communities already have their own source of potable water through a water supply support system, she added.

Valte reported that the NHA targets to complete a total of 92,544 housing units by December 2016.

The country marks this month the second year of the disaster that left more than 6,000 people dead in Eastern Visayas, based on government figures. (MNS)

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