The Philippine Daily Inquirer's TJ Burgonio reports that the government is offering ₱18,000 to each of the 20,000 families of informal settlers living along estuaries and under bridges in Metro Manila "so they can rent decent and safe homes elsewhere for 12 months while officials are looking for a place to resettle them permanently."
The report explained that the government is dangling the relocation assistance package-which amounts to ₱1,500 per month-to the residents because its calculation shows that it is a cheaper option compared to shelling out money to rescue the families should calamities occur during the rainy season. According to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Francisco Fernandez, the total cost of the package for the 20,000 families runs up to ₱360 million.
The DILG's move to relocate 19,440 families is part of President Benigno Aquino III's "₱50-billion relocation plan" aimed at clearing major waterways to ease flooding in Metro Manila. According to the report, the plan "has yet to take off" since it was unveiled in 2011 because "of the difficulty of finding a resettlement place" for the residents.
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