Sunday, February 19, 2006

Philippine relocates 40,000 families: a comparison

Although this Blog is about Mugabe, I often put policy articles or articles about other African countries on it, so that it is not merely an "Ain't it awful" blog about Mugabe, but there is some perspective about what is happening.

Mugabe tore down slums to resettle people...he did it indiscriminately, quickly, and without proper plans to relocate the huge number of people.

Now, as a background/comparison project, I am posting a link to a Philippine investigative website that has a report about a nearby clearance of families to build a much needed railway project.

Unlike "cleanout the trash", this is being done a little at a time, and unlike Zim, there is a long tradition of NGO and churches and local rich people helping people in needd...So, ten Thousand are already moved...but are finding it difficult to resettle...and more will be dislocated in the near future...

The main point is that the government underestimated the funds needed, and that by breaking up communities, people lost friends, jobs, and family resources that enable poor people to survive.

Affected families and NGO workers interviewed for this report say that the North Rail relocation is plagued by the absence of a comprehensive relocation action plan and a lack of transparency on the part of project authorities. They say information is provided to the affected families only on a piecemeal and need-to-know basis.

The families are also being herded to resettlement sites that lack basic facilities such as water supply, electricity, drainage and sewage systems, and health centers and schools. They are uprooted from their sources of income without the alternate jobs being provided.

For this reason, the relocated families have found it difficult to pay for the high monthly amortization of their lots in the resettlement sites, which cost between P100,000 and P125,000, payable within 25-30 years at a six-percent interest.

In not a few cases, evicted families moved out of their relocation sites to settle elsewhere in search of jobs, even as many have now taken to selling the construction materials allotted to them to build their houses just to feed their hungry families. Children have also been getting sick especially with the onset of the rainy season.

So far, 7,297 families from Metro Manila and 1,401 families from Bulacan have already been relocated. It is expected that the clearing of Bulacan up to Malolos of some 11,477 families will be completed before the end of October.

All these families are affected by the first section of Phase I of the Project — the construction of the 32-kilometer double-track, narrow-gauge rail line from Caloocan to Malolos. Another 20,000 families in Pampanga will have to be relocated when the construction of the line to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone gets underway. ,,,

Today, NGOs working in the relocation sites say that all the resettled families are appealing for are jobs and livelihood assistance. "May pabahay nga kami rito, wala naman kaming hanapbuhay? Paano kami mabuhay? (It's true we have houses here, but what good are these if we don't have jobs? How do we survive?)" asks Nelina Rendora, 43, a mother of four who has chosen to be relocated at the Towerville resettlement site in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.

In addition, unscrupulous private individuals and public officials have been milking the relocation for every opportunity to engage in corruption. Residents say kickbacks and payoffs are extracted at almost every stage of the resettlement project. They point to the purchase by the NHA of overvalued real estate used for the relocation sites. This, they say, allowed well-connected property owners to make a killing with the connivance of NHA bureaucrats.

Evicted families say they have also been forced to use the assistance money they had been provided to buy overpriced construction materials from suppliers favored by the NHA. In addition, contractors and land developers in the good graces of local government officials have been awarded fat contracts to develop relocation sites```....

No comments:

Free hit counters
Free hit counters