Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero has vowed to push for an on-site resettlement program for thousands of informal settler families (ISFs) in Metro Manila so that they will no longer have to be relocated in areas outside the region where livelihood opportunities are scarce.
Since around 70 percent of the estimated 3,000 hectares occupied by ISFs are owned by the government, Escudero said medium-rise residential buildings can be built on these lands for “squatter” families.
“Kung magtatayo ng mga condominium na apat na palapag bawat isa, ibig sabihin three-fourths o 2,200 ektarya ang mababakanteng lupa na maaaring pakinabangan bilang karagdagang kalye upang solusyonan ang malalang trapiko. Gaganda at aayos pa ang tirahan ng ating mga kababayan [If four-story condominium units are constructed, it would mean that 2,200 hectares will be freed up that can be made into streets as a solution to the worsening traffic. And poor families will have decent home],” the senator pointed out.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority estimated that there were around 2.8 million informal settlers in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila as of 2010, or about 556,526 families.
Escudero noted that on-site resettlement could address the housing problem of the poor not only in NCR but also in other urban centers.
“Through on-site resettlement, you will be able to upgrade and rehabilitate blighted slum urban areas and at the same time minimize displacement of dwellers in said areas where they have enough access to basic social services and livelihood,” he said.
In 2013, the Department of the the Interior and Local Government identified some 104,000 families residing in danger zones, such as railroad tracks, dumps, canals, rivers and creeks.