House panel OKs bill on rental subsidy for informal settlers
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on housing and urban development has approved a substitute bill providing a rental subsidy program for squatter or information settlement families (ISFs).
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, one of the authors of the bill, noted that the Constitution mandates that the State “shall, by law and for the common good, undertake…a continuing program of urban land reform and housing, which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas.”
“Unfortunately, this provision of the Constitution has not been implemented properly with data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showing that there are around 4.5 million homeless people in our country, three million of whom are in Metro Manila,” he said in a statement on Monday.
He said the bill aims to provide financial assistance to the homeless while waiting for government-built permanent housing.
The bill defines ISFs as “households living in a lot, private or public, without the consent of the property owner; or those without legal claim to the property they are occupying; or those living in danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, and waterways.”
According to Rodriguez, the proposed measure provides for a rental subsidy of P3,500 monthly for qualified ISFs in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, for those in the provinces, the monthly amount of financial aid would depend on the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the National Economic and Development Authority, which will consider regional wages and not exceed P3,500.
The DHSUD would pay the assistance based on a list of qualified beneficiaries provided by the National Housing Authority.
According to Rodriguez, the aid would continue to be given until the beneficiaries’ transfer to a permanent housing project. [ac]
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