June 23, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city will adopt an out-of-the box solution to address the problem on informal settlers – the creation of livable communities.

Under the novel approach, beneficiaries will be given the opportunity and responsibility to plan out the improvements needed in their community, while the city government will capacitate, guide, and give the required resources.

The mayor said the City Planning and Development Office is now conducting social preparation for identified locales, which will be followed by capacity building to teach the community on how to develop plans.

“They will plan out for their roads, pathways, drainage, sanitation, and sewerage systems along with open spaces and recreation areas to alleviate their living condition. It is challenging but it is about time the responsibility be transferred to the affected people so they will give importance to the program,” the mayor said.

The mayor said the plan is to create a model community to serve as blueprint for others.

He said they have presented the project to target communities in Happy Hallow and people were receptive to the idea.

Another area in Bakakeng Central is also targeted for the program along with others occupied by informal settlers in other parts of the city.

Happy Hallow is one of the 13 barangays up for segregation from the Camp John Hay reservation but is now immersed in a legal issue involving ancestral land claims.

Some occupants have expressed reception to the livable community approach and are participating in the trainings.

The program is holistic, which also includes assistance to legitimize claims and relocation plans.

It is also related to the city’s community-based watershed management plan where informal communities are involved in protecting unoccupied areas of the reservations.

“It’s an out-of-the-box but long-term or sustainable solution to our objective to protect what remains of our watersheds since intrusions or incursions did not stop despite the best efforts of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the previous city administrations employing traditional solutions,” the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo