Thursday, August 21, 2008

375 Metro-Manila relocatee families get help to survive food crisis

CALAUAN, Laguna – The squatter families from Metro Manila and nearby areas who are now relocated in Calauan Relocation site are bracing against skyrocketing prices of basic commodities like rice and the like and they welcome the proposed building of a Multi Purpose Livelihood center to augment their micro-finance ventures and other income generating activities.

The poor families whose number already reaches about 1,500 individuals are now being assisted to make them productive like providing them livelihood opportunities, through micro-finance activities. They are also actively involved in the free feeding project, the Faith Garden, Bigasan ng Parokya to give them easy access to cheap NFA rice.

Kelly S. Beltran of the San Pablo Diocesan Social Action Center (SAC) told the Inquirer that the former squatters of Manila, Makati, Pasig, Malate, Tondo and nearby areas are being assisted by the joint efforts of the Church, government, private individuals so they can be productive economically.

The construction of the multi purpose building to be spearheaded by the military engineering personnel which would cost Caritas Manila and other supporting agencies the amount of about P250,000 is due to start this week or so, Beltran said.

She said, on Wednesday (June 4) the joint forces of the Caritas Manila, National Housing Authority, the Diocesan Social Action Center led by Director Fr. Rene B. Eriga, and the Philippine Army’s (AFP) 202ND Infantry Brigade led by newly installed Commanding Officer Col Tristan M. Kison have gone to the Angel Ville Relocation site in Brgy Sto. Tomas, Calauan town to figure out the construction of the said Multi Purpose Livelihood Center.

Capt. Peter Garciniego of the 202nd Brigade had told the Inquirer recently that it was through a friendly and casual meeting with SAC Director Fr. Eriga who ventilated his difficulty in building homes with meager resources that the idea of involving the military in the construction of the shelters for free for the Metro Manila relocatees was hatched.

Todate, the military-assisted projects accomplished in the relocation area in Calauan included the completion of the semi-concrete houses for 75 squatter families.

Two months ago (April 7, 2008), some 17 houses were built for the relocatees by the military with some assistance from civilian carpenters, plumbers had been blessed and inaugurated in the presence of San Pablo Bishop Leo M. Drona, who led the blessing, Priest Officials of Caritas Manila and Social Action Center, Usec. Nena Valdez of the Office of the President, Office of Religious Affairs; Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, PA; National Housing Authority and several others.

Mrs. Aida Garchitorena, head of the organization of relocated families, after the inauguration of the homes built for them for free, had said that she was short of words on how to thank the Caritas Manila, the diocese of San Pablo, Social Action Center, the AFP, the government and private donors for their enormous efforts to provide them food, shelters, livelihood opportunites and almost everything to be able to live with human dignity.