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Manila to relocate 100,000 squatters

AFP-JIJI

The Philippine government plans to move about 100,000 squatters from their homes on crucial waterways in Manila by June as a flood control measure and for their own safety, an official said Saturday.

The plan is to clear six major waterways in the sprawling capital before the typhoon season starts in June, while also saving the squatters from being washed away by floods, said Interior Undersecretary Francisco Fernandez.

Experts have long warned that flooding in Manila has been worsened by the squatter communities, where precarious shanties are built on the banks of waterways, preventing water from flowing freely and blocking drains with garbage.

Fernandez said there are an estimated 105,000 squatter families living on the waterways of the capital. The 20,000 families — representing about 100,000 people — living beside the six major waterways will be the first to be moved.