|Policy Statement on Disaster-Risk Reduction and Environment Management|
Mayor Herbert M. Bautista delivers his Policy Statement on Disaster-Risk Reduction and Environment Management thru a Viable Housing and Resettlement Program
October 1, 2010, at a Special Executive Session , 18th City Council, Carlos Albert Hall, Quezon City.
"Hindi natin pwedeng pabayaan ang ating mahihirap na mga kababayan. Hindi natin pwedeng isaalang-alang na lang sa Diyos ang pagsagip sa kanila sa peligro." was Hon. Herbert M. Bautista's rally call to the Quezon City Council during a special session last Oct. 1, 2010.
To mark his 100 days in office, Quezon City Mayor Herbert M Bautista presented his policy statement on Disaster-Risk Reduction through a Viable Housing and Resettlement Program to the City Council urging them to immediately act upon the said policy. Mayor Bautista reminded the Council and the Officials of the City Departments of the tragedy of Ondoy, the killer typhoon which caused a deluged in almost all of Metro Manila. The Mayor said that the people of Quezon City must learn from this tragedy and take a proactive approach in order to avoid the loss of lives and property in future calamities.
As Quezon City does not only contend with floods, the Mayor also raised the reality of having a Valley Fault Line passing through the eastern boundary of the city. With this potential threat, the City can not be lax in the evaluation and issuing out of permits for developments along the fault line. He also said that it is important that current and future structures comply with construction and building standards as a safeguard against earth quakes. Presently, the new Quezon City Comprehensive Land Use Plan provides guidance on the proper development in the said area.
In his speech, Mayor Bautista presented his strategic and proactive approach in reducing the risk of disaster situations through a viable housing and development program aimed in transferring the informal settlers residing in hazard areas to a more appropriate and development oriented resettlement sites. It is his objective that Quezon City creates a model socialized housing community with the appropriate living conditions such as basic infrastructure, social services, utilities and livelihood. These communities will also be showcases for "Green Townships" as they will feature environmentally compliant living.
In line with his Green QC agenda, the Mayor also adapted the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria in evaluating the green infrastructure of the city. To set an example, he has instructed the QC Hall Building Official to conduct a rapid assessment of the City Hall's energy consumption in order to formulate ways for efficient utilization. There will be a pilot testing of metered streetlights using Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to determine if the LEDs will result in reducing electricity costs.
Using the City's Economic Framework, Mayor Bautista said that disaster-risk mitigation and environmental management are critical factors in determining the pace of urban development. He said that tri-circle framework of Urban Development, Environmental Management and Disaster Risk Management will provide for the birth of a Economically Vibrant, Safe and Clean and Healthy City.
As with any endeavor, Mayor Bautista recognizes the need for cooperation and partnership for a successful policy. The City Government has recently conducted workshops with the pertinent National Agencies in order formulate collaborative mechanisms between the local government, national government, civil society and private sector towards the vision of a revitalized Quezon City. This resulted to pledges from various civic groups for the resettlement initiatives as well as the crafting of viable formulas. Working together, a major initiative can be undertaken to deal with the size of the city's informal settler concerns by the creation of new project townships.
The mayor said that it is Quezon City's objective to create a model, socialized housing community, that provides not only housing units, but basic social amenities, such as a health center, daycare, a public elementary school and a multipurpose/ livelihood center. This is our City's contribution to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Providing the basics of quality living to the poor, will ensure better access to literacy, good health and equal gender access to productive opportunities, so that they gain the capacity to be more valuable participants and contributors to development.
The community is also envisioned to incorporate the viable features of an environmentally compliant village, that will showcase to the nation that the adoption of "green living" (low carbon) can be done in a low-cost manner.
To attain these, the mayor forwarded possible options such as the designation of socialized housing zones and the crafting of legal instruments to compel national government agencies that are large land owners which have significant ISF problems, to allot commensurate parcels of their land, as resettlement sites for their own ISFs.
Another option mentioned is to tap the private sector for public-private partnerships. The mayor shared that Gawad Kalinga and the Quezon City Association of Filipino Chinese Businessmen had already pledged their support and that the socialized housing developers associations are also working with the city to craft viable formulas.
The private sector is encouraged to look at funds allotted for ISF resettlement not as losses or charity, but as investments which they can strategize to recover through such mechanisms as: payment of amortization of beneficiaries, for those they resettle in their own developed sites; upgrading of property values of cleared and developed properties; freeing of cleared sites for high-value commercial enterprises.
Also mentioned was the forging of partnerships with other local government as a means to reduce the number of informal settlers in the city. Twinning arrangements can be arranged with provinces and municipalities which can host new resettlement sites for QC's ISFs.
And to unite in our efforts to compel national government agencies and private companies who, because of their neglect, have helped cause the proliferation of informal settlers in Quezon City, to contribute to Quezon City's socialized housing fund in proportionate share to the number of ISFs in their areas of operations.
The mayor outlined the city's priority areas for resettlement as: the 26,974 who live in danger areas that must be saved from future disasters; those residing in areas targeted for high-value tourism and investment development; those residing in City-owned properties considered prime and with high commercial value; and those residing in privately owned properties considered prime and owner is in agreement for property swap with LGU.
Mayor Bautista called on the City Council and City Offices to work in unity on this vision for a better life for the people of Quezon City. The QC Council applauded the said policy and will work on its immediate implementation. (Click to see the full text of the speech)