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Palafox: Ormoc relocation site “a model to the world”

Lalaine Jimenea (The Freeman) - August 3, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Noted architect and urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox said the resettlement site that the Tzu Chi Foundation has committed to build in Ormoc City for  Yolanda survivors “will be a model to the country, even the world.”

Palafox was in the city where he met with members of the City Council to inform them that he and Tzu Chi are now drawing up the master development plan for the relocation area.

The relocation site is in Barangay Liloan, originally planned to be donated to the Tzu Chi Foundation by Mayor Edward Codilla and his wife, but is now under a 50-year “usufructuary arrangement.”

Palafox and Alfredo Li, chief executive officer of Tzu Chi-Philippines, said they also took into consideration the reports that the site, where 2,000 houses will be built, is a flood-prone area. “We are not just building temporary shelters, we are building communities,” he said.

“We had the same concern. We revised the plans and made the areas likely to be flooded as garden areas,” he said, adding that soil analysis have been undertaken and that the houses would be two-storey units.

 He added they were still doing soil analysis and the planned houses would be two-floors. He added they are using “adaptive architecture and adaptive engineering,” and are taking into consideration “hazard areas.” “We overlay the hazard maps with the land use plans” to determine where to put what, he said. With that, he said, they are “putting” the proposed houses on the safe areas, as determined by the master plan.

Li, for his part, said Tzu Chi and Palafox had a long working relationship, and the foundation had tapped the architect to help in the Ormoc project. While the houses to be built in the area are so-called “transition homes,” it is almost permanent, considering their durability. The houses are pre-fabricated and will be coming straight from Taiwan, he said.

Palafox further said the initial plan was to award 45 square meters to each relocation beneficiary, but later it was expanded to 80 square meters each to accommodate a growing family.

He said they wanted to “build an ideal community.” He said that a good percentage of the relocation site would be for “open spaces” which could also become an evacuation area, in case there is a threat of calamity. One-third of the open spaces, he said, would be for trees and parks; another third for vehicle parking and another third for walkways. He admitted they saw the need to revise the plans after they were apprised that the relocation area was flood prone.  (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY LILOAN CITY COUNCIL MAYOR EDWARD CODILLA ORMOC CITY PALAFOX PALAFOX AND ALFREDO LI TZU CHI TZU CHI AND PALAFOX TZU CHI FOUNDATION TZU CHI-PHILIPPINES
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