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                                                                                                                                   Refer to: Ms. Dale Zapata



17 May 2006

In a letter to His Eminence Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, Vice President Kabayan Noli De Castro today raised issue on the Archbishop’s claims on the perceived problems being faced by the Philippine National Railway tracks’ relocatees in various resettlement sites.

De Castro pointed out that while he recognized the difficulties of these affected families, the government housing sector has never stopped looking for solutions.

Since the relocation project started, the Vice President has been holding continuous dialogues with the stakeholders including multilateral organizations, private sector groups, non-government organizations, peoples’ organizations and the beneficiaries themselves, to minimize the dislocation of affected families.

After a thorough review of several options, De Castro is convinced that an in-city resettlement and beneficiary-led development is the best approach to take in relocating the settlers along the North and South rails.

“I have directed the agencies under me to ensure that this approach is presented and explained properly to the beneficiaries. They are the ones who will be affected by our actions.”

The Vice President pointed out that differences in positions notwithstanding, the government shelter sector has worked smoothly with various organizations assisting the relocatees. These include the Homeless People’s Federation (assisted by Fr. Atilajano Fajardo, CM of the Vincentian Missionary), the Diocese of Malolos (through Fr. Dennis Espejo and Fr. Vince Reyes), the Gawad Kalinga (led by Executive Director Antonio Meloto) and the UN Habitat.

“It is unfortunate that some quarters have presented to the Archbishop issues that are either recycled, inaccurate or not in their proper context, said De Castro.

“The welfare of the relocatees has always been a paramount concern to the government.  We are extending all forms of assistance to ease their plight,” De Castro added.                                                                                             HOME | back-to-top

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