Fishpond workers living in the coastal vilage of Taliptip in Bulacan have voluntarily given up their houses, mostly on stilts, to avail of financial assistance from San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and allow them to rebuild their lives inland and in their respective provinces.
On top of the amount, SMC will provide skills training to coastal settlers through the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
With this, residents are looking forward to better living conditions after years of staying at the coastal area often inundated by flood waters damaging their houses and affecting their families.
These residents of nine sitios comprising Barangay Taliptip thanked SMC for providing them start-up capital and helping them move to safer ground to pave the way for an airport development plan that is seen to revive the province and the country’s economy reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Nagpapasalamat kami dahil nabigyan ng linaw ang kinatatayuan namin ngayon. Hindi nila kami pinabayaan kaya sa pamamagitan nila ay magkakaroon kami ng panibagong buhay,”said Renato Bantayao of Sitio Capol.
“At binigay na rin nila yung tamang halaga parang magkaroon kami ng matitirahan na magiging sarili namin habang kami ay nabubuhay. Kami na ang nagkusa na gumiba ng aming mga bahay dahil mayroon na kaming mapupuntahan,”he added.
Rodnan Sampani of Sitio Camansi and Roberto Panganiban of Sitio Capol said they were reluctant to leave at first, but following lengthly consultations and discussions with local officials and the assurance of SMC representatives, they willingly decided to vacate the area.
“Nung una ay di naman alam kung saan kami pupunta. At dahil sa San Miguel ay nabigyan kami ng tulong. Heto nga kami ngayon at nagbabaklas ng bahay na para makuha na ang aming mga gamit at mailagay sa bago naming malilipatan,”Sampani said.
For his part, Panganiban said: “Walang sapilitang pagbabaklas ng mga bahay. Noong una ay nag-aalangan kami na baka walang mangyayari sa amin. Pero ngayon na kami ay binigyan ng financial assistance ay makakabili na kami ng lupa dahil sa tulong ng San Miguel.”
Saturnino Espiritu, leader of Sitio Pariahan said San Miguel quickly heeded their request for assistance.”Tinugunan nila ang yung kahilingan naming sa suporta kaya’t kusa na po naming giniba ang aming mga bahay para kami ay makalipat sa ibang lugar,” he said.
Alejandra Libao could not forget that San Miguel provided relief assistance following the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine for Luzon and rest of the country due to the threat of Covid-19.
“Sila ang tumulong sa amin nung lockdown at kami ay makakalipat ngayon sa tulong ng San Miguel at tumulong rin silang maghanap ng malilipatan namin,”she said.
The owners of non-concrete houses or shanties were given P250,000 each while concrete houses were given the appraised value of their houses multiplied twice plus P100,000.
Both owners of non-concrete and concrete houses will also get the appraised value share for the chapels in their areas as requested by Bishop Dennis Villarojo of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malolos.
Apart from the financial assistance, the residents will also avail of support from the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Bulakan LGU.
A total of 277 houseowners from the area were qualified for cash assistance and 80% have already vacated the Taliptip site as the remainder will voluntary relocate from the period from June 30 to July 15.
A number of the residents opted to remain in Bulacan province, like Avelino Valiente of Sitio Bunutan who is moving to Calumpit while Erlinda Libao’s family is setting up a new home in Bambang.
Others went back to their provinces, namely Samar, Negros, Nueva Ecija, Sorsogon, Mindoro, Masbate, Camarines Sur, Malabon, Bataan Valenzuela, Paranaque, Dumaguete, and Albay.
For safety and health reasons, these residents were advised to refrain from relocating to coastal areas, riverbanks, seashores, and squatter areas.