RODRIGUEZ, Rizal–As Tropical storm “Juaning” (international name: Nock-ten) made landfall in Casiguran, Aurora, some 3,000 families in government relocation sites at Kasiglahan Village Phase 1K and at neighboring areas fear for a repeat of the roof-high flood that savaged the Montalban relocation sites in 2009 when Typhoon Ondoy ravaged the country.
Montalban relocation sites are among the most affected areas by Typhoon Ondoy, sitting along the Montalban River where the flood water that engulfs Marikina and the northern part of Manila flows.
“We haven’t experienced the big flood, but we fear for it to come every time there is news of big storm coming,” said Susan Quizon, a new relocatee of Kasiglahan Village early this year from from the North Triangle area in Quezon City.
Old relocatees said that the area of Phase 1k was flooded with a 10-ft high water in 2009, back when only cows and carabaos roamed the 10-hectare land that is part of the Montalban River flood plain.
Merci Merilles, Montalban Relocatees Alliance (MRA)-KADAMAY Chairperson, said they were surprised to see new housing units built on the said area (now Phase 1K) by NHA and developer New San Jose Builders in 2010, just months after the Ondoy Tragedy. Merilles lived in Phase 1D of the Kasiglahan Village since 2002, right beside Phase 1K. She recalled that an 8-ft high flood submerged their houses up to its roof in 2009 when the Wawa Dam released huge volumes of water without notifying the residents in the area along the flood plain, including the Montalban relocation areas.
“We expected the government would help transfer us to a higher ground in the relocation area because of what happened in 2009, but instead, the government sent us new neighbors,” Merilles said.
“We call on the local government unit to implement an early warning system, and prepare life boats in case of the big flood,” Merilles added.
“We call on the national government to stop the relocation of more urban poor families from Metro Manila to the Montalban relocation areas,” said Merilles.
“We challenge President Aquino to investigate the relocation contract including the National Housing Authority and the New San Jose Builders, allegedly co-owned by Speaker Sonny Belmonte, which continue to build more housing units in the Montalban area despite danger of big flood and strong earthquake, as studies say the floodplain sits also on the Marikina Faultline,” Merilles said.