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No power, water in relocation site

By: Nestle L. Semilla February 17,2016 - 10:20 PM
Relocated families complain that roads at the relocation site in barangay Paknaan Mandaue City turn muddy when it rains. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Relocated families complain that roads at the relocation site in barangay Paknaan Mandaue City turn muddy when it rains. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

The coastal relocation site in Mandaue City being offered to families who will have to vacate their homes under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge doesn’t have electricity and has inadequate water supply.

The 6.5-hectare urban poor resettlement site in Barangay Paknaan also gets flooded during high tide and whenever there is a heavy downpour, according to Elsa Macaron, a former informal settler from the Mahiga Creek in Barangay Subandaku who has been living at the relocation area since October last year.

“We didn’t want to transfer here. Up to now we have no water and electricity. Ideally, the city government should have developed the place first before they asked us to relocate here,”  Macaron told Cebu Daily News in Cebuano.

Macaron, 41, said there are now 500 families living in the resettlement site, all of whom were evicted from Mandaue City’s danger zones.

Tony Pet Juanico, the chief the Mandaue City Housing and urban Development Office (Hudo), admitted the site is not fully developed.

But Juanico said they are building a drainage system and a riprap project meant to protect residents from floods.

CDN visited the area on Wednesday and saw there were no electric posts, while only half of the 500 households in the site have water supply.

Charmaine Kara,  the public relations officer of the Metro Cebu Water District, said by text message yesterday that the water district began servicing the Paknaan resettlement site in January last year and has so far connected water service to 234 households in the area.

The houses, however,  have no individual toilets. Residents have to pay from P3 to P5 to use the communal  toilets operated by the city government, said Macaron.

The resettlement area is so dark at night that residents fear for the safety of their children, Macaron said.

The resettled families use batteries to power their lamps and appliances like radios.

She said only a dirt road connects the relocation site to the main highway that even passenger tricycles would often refuse to bring passengers to the site, particularly when the rain would turn the road muddy.

Moreover, the site is just about five to 10 meters away from a commercially-operated fishpond so  seawater spills over from the pond during high tide and flood the community with ankle-deep water.

Macaron said there is no concrete wall that separates the relocation site from the fishpond, which would have prevented seawater from entering their community during high tide.

Macaron said the resettled families were each given 28-square meters of land worth P60,000.

They pay a monthly amortization of P550 for their assigned lot.

The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7) earlier announced it is going to clear the area under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge of about 50 households of informal settlers once  the bridge’s repair begins.

But Jegma Construction, which is undertaking the repair work,  said only 33 houses will be directly affected by the project.

DPWH-7 legal officer Manuel Elijah Sarausal assured the agency will first comply with the requirements set by both the city government and other concerned government agencies, such as ensuring that the affected families will be provided with relocation sites and/or financial assistance.

Engineers from Jegma Construction said the removal of the shanties built under the bridge was necessary.

They said the informal settlers may get hurt by falling debris when they start the repair of the bridge, which requires removing and replacing the cement flooring or deck slabs.

The bridge’s repair has already been stalled by the problem posed by the pipeline of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) which is attached to the bridge.

The pipeline transmits potable water to about 60 percent of Lapu-Lapu City. It   needs to be properly secured before repairs on the bridge can begin  to prevent damage when the cement flooring is removed, engineers from Jegma earlier said.

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