MANILA, Sept. 9 (Mabuhay) – The Office of the Vice President (OVP) on Monday assured members of the House of Representatives that they fully support President Benigno S. Aquino III instructions to Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel Roxas II to lead in the relocation of informal settler.
This was assured by Lawyer Benjamin Martinez, chief of staff of Vice President Jejomar Binay who leads the budget presentation of the Office of the Vice President.
The OVP is asking for the approval of P417.296 million budget for 2014, an increase of measly P721,000 from P416,575 million for 2013.
Last Friday, Roxas was grilled by UNA Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco during a congressional budget hearing over the role of the DILG in implementing housing projects for informal settlers.
Tiangco claimed that Roxas already encroached the power of National Housing Authority (NHA) who is mandated by law to be the lead agency of the government to build government shelters. NHA is under Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) which is under the direct supervision of Vice President Binay.
But Roxas was quick to explained that he is just doing his job “on instruction of the President” that he lead the building for informal settlers who were evicted from the so-called “danger zones” in Metro Manila.
Roxas during his budget presentation at the House committee on Appropriations insisted that he is obliged to follow instructions from the President since all agencies are under his command.
“We are in full support of the President’s order,” Martinez told the committee.
Tiangco refused to give additional comment after learning that the OVP supports the move.
Roxas was armed with Memorandum Order 57 signed by President Aquino directing him (Roxas) to “immediately spearhead the transfer of informal settler families living in danger and high-risk areas.”
“Hindi po ito agaw eksena. Hindi ito pataasan ng kung ano. Ito po ay utos ng pangulo at ito po ay gagampanan natin,” Roxas was quoted as saying.
The Department of Budget and Management allocated P1.25-billion to DILG for purchasing property and building government houses for the affected families.
Earlier, the Aquino administration has previously earmarked P10-billion of government funds for the relocation of 20,000 families located in danger areas. (MNS)