The lots that the city government acquired and which are now utilized as relocation sites has become a boon not only for the urban poor but also for the victims of the typhoon Sendong.
This is what Mayor Vicente Y. Emano expressed as he thanked everyone who has helped bring back the affected families to its feet after the calamity last December 17, 2011. He thanked the various government agencies, local government units all over the nation, private corporations and individuals, non government organizations and friends who sent donations, both big and small, cash and relief goods.
The mayor did not forget to thank the past administration of the city for the foresight of buying lots which now became the relocation sites, in Calaanan, Canitoan, for the Sendong affected families.
“I thank ex-Mayor Pablo Magtajas because the lots which he acquired for the city government during his time came in handy in our current circumstances,” said Mayor Emano.
During Magtajas administration, the city government acquired 27 hectares of land in sitio Calaanan. These include 4 lots in all valued at P4.1 million pesos.
In 1998, a few months after Emano took office as city mayor, at total of 63 hectares was acquired by his administration at P101.5 million pesos. This land became the centerpiece of his Off-Site Resettlement Program or Piso-Piso Land Program for the Poor which greatly benefitted the city’s less fortunate citizenry.
Of the 63 hectares, only 25 hectares was developed under the Resettlement and Socialized Housing Project of Mayor Emano. It is here where the 213 housing units of the Oro Habitat for Humanity were erected; 462 beneficiary families were relocated in Phase 1 of the Piso-Piso program; 640 families in Phase 3; 31 families in Phase 4 Village of Hope; and 65 families under the classification Persons With Disabilities in Phase 2.
The selection of beneficiaries for the relocation to Calaanan underwent a meticulous evaluation and verification process undertaken by the Estate Management Division (EMD) spearheaded by Ms. Virginia Diguinion.
According to Diguinion, beneficiaries qualified for relocation to Calaanan are those families which are classified as ‘squatters’ or members of community associations affected by demolitions; squatter families which are victims of fire and squatter families which have been affected by the city government’s infrastructure projects.
Within this relocation site, Mayor Emano has also included a special housing project which include members of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO), Cagayan de Oro Fire Station (COFS), and enlisted personnel of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, with lower positions/ranks and receiving meager monthly salaries.
The community which now bloomed in Calaanan is under the supervision of the city government where every beneficiary family abides by the by-laws and policies implemented by the EMD. This includes a strictly implemented policy where the certificate of ownership cannot be transferred, given, or sold except when it is passed to the children of the beneficiary.
The EMD also organized a community-based structure where every block elects a leader and all block leaders in turn elect their federation officers and board of directors. In Calaanan, there are 6 officials and 9 board of directors. Each director handles a committee that addresses the needs of their community such as the committee for women, youth, peace and order, livelihood, and others.
According to Rubina Castro, EMD project-in-charge in Calaanan Relocation, the community is carrying on smoothly with the present setup. This community is no different compared to other communities outside the relocation where in spite of the differences in points of view and ideologies, they move on with the good of the community always in the forefront, and accomplishing their goals through unity among their leaders and members, motivated by the constant support of the local government.
Soon, thousands of families will soon join this same community in Calaanan, Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro City.