Thursday, 19 December 2013

Squatter relocation

Uncertain future … This young mother is tending to the health care needs of her few weeks’ old baby one morning in April when MWBuzz chanced on them. Married to a fisherman, her young family is one of more than 300 squatters (some of the shanties pictured below) along the 1.5km shoreline of baranggay Parang, Mambulao, in CamNorte. As of now, their future has become uncertain after the local government announced recently that their squatting days are numbered. Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla wants them out of the beach front that’s why he launched an ambitious project to develop a relocation site for these informal settlers at Spurline, a sitio of baranggay Larap about 7km west of the town proper. Their relocation,  which would only happen once the new community is developed and, hopefully, self-contained, would pave the way for the LGU to intensify its push for local tourism. He said sometime ago that the squatter shanties have become eyesores and blamed them for spoiling the beach area with their rubbish. The relocation site is undergoing continuous ground work by laborers who have been provided bunk houses nearby. The completion of the project is of course subject to “funds availability”, a bulk of which would have come from the pork barrel of some friendly lawmakers had it not been outlawed by the Supreme Court. So, right now, the squatter families are about confused as to whether they should rejoice the shutdown of Padilla’s pork barrel pipeline. Because with pork barrel money to fund Meyor Dong’s relocation site venture, they know their future is on hold. – MWBuzz text and pic by AP HERNANDEZ

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