BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Feb. 21 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be filing charges against illegal settlers who refuse to leave the geohazard areas at barangay Runruno in Quezon town.
Edgar Martin Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer said the legal move is needed since many of the illegal settlers who come from the provinces of Quirino, Isabela and Ifugao provinces continue to defy their order to leave their homes as they are situated in geo-hazard areas.
“We have been continuously telling them of the risks and their violations in living in the geo-hazard and forest zone areas. So far, many have complied with our order and there are still some who refuse to leave the area,” he said.
Martin recently attended the Sangguniang Panlalawigan hearing on the environmental issues and concerns in Runruno headed by Board Member Flodemonte Gerdan.
Martin said that since the Runruno tragedy that killed 10 illegal settlers during the onset of typhoon ‘Ulysses’, a series of dialogues and information campaign activities have been conducted by the DENR, MGB, PNP, LGU and other agencies to convince the illegal settlers to leave their high risk abodes.
He said that out of the 411 illegal settlers, only 28 families refuse to leave the geo-hazard areas in sitios Bit-ang 1 and 2, Balcony and Compound.
“Most of these illegal settlers have been compensated properly by the FCF Minerals Corporation since the previous years,” Martin said.
He added that a 21-hectare relocation area in barangay Boliwao is now being procured by the local government unit of Quezon for the illegal settlers.
Martin however said that only 37 families from Quezon town have qualified to be relocated in the area, based on the criteria set by the National Housing Authority(NHA) which also pledged P50 million for the development of the relocation site.
He said that checkpoints have been set-up in barangay Runruno to prevent illegal entrants from entering the geo-hazard areas including installation of billboards warning the entry of entrants.
Martin said the move to relocate the illegal settlers in the geo-hazard areas in barangay Runruno is part of the government’s Build Back Better Program after typhoon ‘Ulysses’ severely flooded most of Cagayan Valley region’s provinces and cities.(MDCT/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)