Freeman Region

Yolanda survivors: 280 families in Tacloban relocated

Miriam Garcia Desacada - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A total of 280 families, who survived the Yolanda devastation three years ago, were finally relocated to their new houses at the resettlement site in North Hill Arbours in northern Tacloban City.

The weeklong relocation process—implemented by Michael Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas, with the help of city government under Mayor Cristina Romualdez—was completed, starting with 130 families since Monday this week and 150 others until today.

Ceres buses, commissioned by Dino for the national government, together with vehicles and trucks from the city government and the 53rd Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army, transported the resettlers—and their household items—from their old place at Barangay 88 (San Jose District), to Villa Sofia and Villa Diana relocation sites in North Hill Arbours.

The buses will stay in Tacloban for six months to provide transportation for the new residents, in going to and from school and work, until a new public-utility-vehicle route is established, according to personnel of Dino.

The site has basic amenities, such as water and power, and the relocated families happily started cleaning their new homes, three years after the Yolanda devastation that rendered them homeless.

During the 3rd year commemoration of Yolanda, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed disappointment over the slow implementation of the recovery programs, particularly on the relocation of the homeless victims.

Duterte then publicly ordered Dino to fast-track the housing projects and immediately relocate the families occupy to their new houses this month, in time for Christmas. He promised to visit Tacloban again this month to see for himself the how far the relocation order was carried out.

Twenty days after the Duterte order, Dino in behalf of the president welcomed the Yolanda survivors to the relocation site in the presence of Mayor Romualdez.

“We are moving them (families) little by little every day for safety purposes. There is much work to be done but we are thankful for the help of the Tacloban LGU, the military and various government agencies,” said Dino.

Bernadette Valenzuela, chief of the Tacloban City Media Center, said the relocated residents were from San Jose district of the city. She said the city government had also identified other families—now living in the danger zone along the city’s coast—who are among the 12,500 families that will be the recipients of new houses now being constructed by the National Housing Authority.

“In Anibong area for example there are at least 500 families to be relocated,” Valenzuela said. A month ago, at least 100 families, and then 89 more from the transition areas in the city were relocated in resettlement areas at Tagpuro and Kawayan.

Mayor Romualdez, for her part, said she is determined to complete the relocation of Yolanda survivors by early next year. (FREEMAN)



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