TACLOBAN CITY- The mayor of this Yolanda- battered city admitted that they could not meet the November 8 deadline set by the national government to transfer families still living in tents to their transitional shelters.

Transitional houses, located in the northern portion of Tacloban, were built to serve as half-way homes for those who totally lost their houses before they will be eventually transferred to permanent sites.

Mayor Romualdez, however, was quick to say that the city government could not force these families not to transfer to their transitional houses, despite of a deadline.

“They themselves do not like to be transferred at this point. They told us that they want to see first the Pope before they will be transferred,” Romualdez said.

During his arrival at the Tacloban Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport on January 17, 2015, Pope Francis is expected to pass through San Jose, where these families in tents are located, on his way to the nearby town of Palo.

The national government had earlier asked the city government to transfer those still living in tents and bunkhouses to their transitional or permanent shelters on or before the first year anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda which is close to a month from now.

According to Mayor Alfred Romualdez, there are about 800 families that need to be transferred to the transitional houses located in New Kawayan, Sto.Nino and Tagpuro.

But based on the records of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, there are just 528 families that need to be transferred to the transitional houses.

These families are from Barangays 88(356 families); 89(113 families); 90(31 families) and 58(28 families), all located in worst-hit area of San Jose district except for 58 located in Sagkahan area.

“But almost every day, there are families living in tents that are being transferred. But I don’t think we can meet the deadline which is November 8. But I will not resign(if I could not meet the deadline),” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said that aside from the deadline set by the government, he want to see the complete transfer of these families still living in tents considering rainy season had begun.

Since the city government started the transfer of the families in tents last July, there are more than 200 families now living to their transitional homes made of bamboo matting, nipa shingles, coco lumber and measuring 18 square meters.