Senator Loren Legarda urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to ensure that communities and informal settler families (ISF) who are affected by the agency’s construction projects are provided by the government with the appropriate needs and services in resettlement sites.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, made the statement during the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2018 budget of the DPWH, containing a request for budget for right of way acquisition, which will include payments for affected ISFs.
“There needs to be a plan when resettling ISFs. We cannot just pull them out of one community to another and assume that they could just easily go on with their lives. We should be providing the necessary support as they lead a new a life,” the veteran legislator said, adding that lost incomes and opportunities of informal settlers who are displaced or would be resettled should also be taken into account.
“We need to ensure that not only these families receive the basic provisions, such as water, electricity, and shelter, but also the financial and livelihood assistance, so they could eventually provide for their own again. These are families who, just like everyone else, need to be treated in a humane way–with respect and dignity.”
The seasoned lawmaker said that the financial and livelihood assistance could be lodged on the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The lady senator also noted that the agency’s unspent P7 Billion from its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) could be utilized to open opportunities for these informal settler families.
“We want the 2018 budget to be indeed pro-people or makatao by being as inclusive as possible: to target those we haven’t reached, to serve those who have been neglected; and to care for those who have been ignored,” Legarda sai