The Puerto Princesa City government said it has relocated a total of 23 families from the mercury-contaminated mine site of the Palawan Quicksilver Mine, Inc. (PQMI) in Barangay Sta. Lourdes.

City government housing chief Engr. Eduardo Driz said Wednesday they were relocated from within the 20-meter pit lake easement zone.

Driz said their last relocation to Barangays Sicsican and Mangingisda was on December 13 involving 11 affected families.

He said they were provided P10,000 financial assistance each by the city government.

Driz said the lot properties where the families were transferred now belong to them. These should be developed and taken care of as their permanent homes.

“Ayon doon sa MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) ‘yang pit lake ang critical [area]. Ang gusto ko lang ay ‘yong mga nabigyan na ng award ay i-develop nila ‘yong lote na ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng local government. At ‘yong walang bahay, bahayan nila at doon nila itira ang kanilang pamilya. Sa bandang huli may maipapamana sila sa kanilang mga anak at sa kanilang mga apo. Meron na silang masasabi na talagang tirahan nila at doon sila mgsa-sama-sama,” said Driz.

(According to the MGB, the pit lake is the critical area. What I want is for those who have been awarded the lots by the local government to develop them. And those who have no homes yet, they should build on them already and make their families live there. In the end, they will have something to pass to their children and grandchildren. They can now say they have their own homes now.)

According to him, four of the 11 families were given four-meter-by-six-meter duplex home units within a 96 square-meter floor area inside a 43-hectare land owned by the city government in Mangingisda.

Driz said each duplex unit was funded by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and costs P100,000 payable in 25 years.

On the other hand, the seven families that were transferred to Sicsican were awarded 100 square-meter lot without structures.

“Lote lang, titled ‘yan. Anytime kapag nalipat [na] na sa city, puwede nang i-transfer sa kanila. Ang babayaran naman nila d’yan kung magkaano ang pagka-acquire ng city government. Na-acquire ‘yon P400 per square meter kaya ‘yong 100 [square meter] ay P40,000 or baka magdagda lang ng 30 percent. Payable in 25 years din. [Ang bahay] sila na ang gagawa,” said Driz.

(It’s titled lot. Anytime it’s transferred to the name of the city government, they will be transferred to their names also. What they will pay is how much the city government acquired the property. It was acquired at P100 per square meter so the 100-square meter is P40,000 or maybe there will be an additional 30 percent. Also payable in 25 years. They will construct their own house.)

Driz said the city government assisted the families in transporting their belongings and dismantled house materials to the relocation areas.

He added there were also families that were relocated in 2017 and 2018 that did not avail of the city government’s offer.

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