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Duterte calls on DPWH to relocate residents to areas without construction – UNTV News


Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) and other agencies to relocate informal settlers in Cebu displaced by Typhoon Odette.

In a pre-recorded meeting with government officials, Duterte said the DPWH should work with the LGUs for a possible resettlement of families who will be displaced from “no-construction zones” or areas deemed unsafe.

“Alam mo, you have to talk to the mayors – well, the pati governors, but the most important thing is how the mayor would govern his city or his municipality kasi sila lang ang makaturo kung saan lilipat ‘tong mga’ to,” said Duterte.

“Ang akin kasi, I don’t want to dismantle or destroy houses unless there is a resettlement site. Malaki is not a problem with too much time. When you start razing those houses over there, you have a problem in your hands and it’s actually a social problem, ”he added.

The president issued the directive as the DPWH reported on roads damaged by the storm surge caused by Typhoon Odette, in particular the Santander-Barili-Toledo road in Cebu.

DPWH secretary Roger Mercado reported that part of the roadway and even houses were destroyed after the typhoon that hit Cebu, stressing that the road needs to be built with permanent improvements.

Mercado said the DPWH will do its best to negotiate with residents and convince them to relocate due to the dangers of staying near the coast.

At the same time, the head of the DPWH said he had issued a ministerial decree strictly implementing the provision of the road right-of-way law, as well as the no-construction zone policy.

In a no-build zone, no structure should be built within 40 meters of the center line going towards the shore, he explained. In this case, the residents violated the directive because their homes are in the 40-meter no-build zone.

The DPWH said it would need 50 million pesos to fund the permanent improvement, adding that a levee and drainage system must be built to protect the structure from another storm surge.

“I call planning and finance and tomorrow we will keep looking for money and I hope we can point it out to you – so that you are happy, Mr President. We will be resourceful, ”said Mercado.

The DPWH chief said they had requested a fund to increase their savings but due to the damage their request must be changed to finance the construction of the Santander-Barili section of the road.

The project could be completed within three to four months with a massive injection of equipment and uninterrupted work by government contractors, he added.