The municipal government here received a total of PHP14 million in cash assistance from the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the cities of Valenzuela and San Juan in Metro Manila on Saturday.
NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. turned over another check worth PHP10 million to the local government of Itogon, to buy a lot for the resettlement site of families displaced by Typhoon Ompong.
“Ito po ay karagdagang tulong na ipinararating ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte para sa Itogon para makabili ng lupa sa ligtas na lugar para sa resettlement ng mga residenteng naninirahan sa critical areas (this is an additional assistance that President Duterte sent for Itogon so that you can buy a lot on a safe ground for the resettlement of the residents in areas identified as critical areas),” Escalada said.
Escalada, who handed the check to Mayor Victorio Palangdan in an event witnessed by hundreds of residents, relayed President Duterte’s instruction to help the victims.
“The application on how to implement the PHP10 million will be very unique for Itogon kasi (because) I will not impose the restriction na within Itogon lang (that it is only within Itogon),” he said.
“NHA right now is very reasonable na kung walang makita na lupa na buildable within Itogon, we can always find a place. Sabi ko nga, at the end of the day Pilipinas pa rin ito eh (if there is no buildable land in Itogon, we can always find a place [outside Itogon] just like what I’ve said, at the end of it is still within the Philippines),” Escalada added.
He said the local government can find a safer area outside Itogon. A large portion of Itogon — seven out of the nine barangays — were declared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as geo-hazard area with portions within it being highly dangerous and susceptible to landslide, sinking and flooding.
The NHA earlier released PHP10 million to Itogon for the purchase of construction materials to repair damaged houses. Escalada also assured that under the Duterte administration, settlement areas for calamity victims will be developed and made as a community with facilities and convenient houses, not mere boxes for the people.
During the agency’s initial turnover of assistance, Escalada said the agency will come up with package assistance, a long-term solution for the victims.
Meanwhile Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Sherwin Gatchalian, in the same occasion, also turned over to the municipality their respective city’s donation for Itogon.
San Juan City, whose mayor is Senator JV’s mother Guia Gomez, donated PHP1 million financial assistance.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning and Housing relayed that together with the senators, said his committee will exert effort to find immediate solution to provide other basic needs like water supply, which were damaged by “Ompong” as well as the resettlement of the nine identified schools located in geo-hazard zones in Itogon.
Gatchalian, together with Valenzuela Vice Mayor Lorie Natividad-Borja, also turned over a PHP500,000 check for Itogon and another PHP2.5 million that will be divided among the relatives of those who died and those who are still missing.
Each of the immediate families of the fatalities and the missing will receive aid worth PHP20,000. (PNA)
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