Manila Times, January 12, 2005

DENR Finds Relocation Sites for Flashflood Survivors
By Ronnie Calumpitan

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources has identified 256 hectares of land to relocate victims of landslides and flash floods in Aurora, Quezon and Nueva Ecija.

"The victims will soon be relocated to safer grounds based on the ground survey and geo-hazard assessment made by geologists from the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau [MGB] whom we dispatched," said Environment Secretary Michael Defensor.

Some 53,000 families, or 265,000 people, were displaced in the onslaught landslides and flash floods triggered by storms "Unding," "Violeta," "Winnie" and "Yoyong" that battered the three provinces from November 13 to December 3, 2004. The disaster claimed the lives of more than 1,000 individuals.

"Local DENR officials are conducting the verification of ownership and boundaries of the different sites in Quezon and other priority provinces to facilitate the acquisition of these properties by government," Defensor said.

The DENR recommended victims in Gen. Nakar, Quezon, to be relocated in a 24-hectare property in Barangay Catablingan and in Barangay Anoling, Infanta. The DENR is still looking for additional sites, because these areas are not big enough to accommodate all the victims.

A 50-hectare private land, owned by the family of the actor, Onemig Bondoc, in Barangay Ago-Agos, Infanta, is the proposed relocation site for the victims in this coastal town of Quezon.

The Bondoc family has already offered to donate one hectare of the property while the acquisition of the rest of the area is still being negotiated.

Families displaced by landslides and flash floods in Real, Quezon, will be relocated in Barangays Kilolorum, Capalong and Talisay. A 50-hectare private property in Barangay Mapalad, Real, is also being studied as an alternative relocation site.

Possible relocation sites for the victims in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija and Dingalan, Aurora, are the a 35-hectare agricultural land in Barangay Malinao, Gabaldon, a 77-hectare property near the Nueva Ecija-Aurora boundary, a private land in Barangay Caragsakan, Dingalan, and a 10-hectare property in Barangay Tanawan, Dingalan.

The affected families in Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija, will be relocated to a 10-hectare government land in Barangay San Pedro.

The DENR-MGB urged the local government officials to strictly regulate the construction of houses along the banks of the Peñaranda River that traverses in southern municipalities and cities of Nueva Ecija because of overflowing and flooding.

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