Solon asks House to prioritize bill providing rental subsidies to informal settlers
MANILA, Philippines — A bill that, if enacted, would require the government to provide rental subsidies for informal settler families (ISFs) should be prioritized by the House of Representatives, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte said.
Duterte, in a statement, said that House Bill (HB) No. 455, or the proposed Rental Housing Subsidy Act will allow ISFs to seek better shelter, especially during the typhoon and southwest monsoon season.
Under the bill, the government would shoulder part of the rental expenses of eligible ISFs so that they would stop residing in precarious areas.
“People forced to squat on private property because of poverty, those living in danger areas, and those who lost their homes due to strong typhoons and other calamities or because they have been affected by public infrastructure projects should be given the chance to live in humane, decent conditions while waiting to be transferred to their permanent housing sites,” Duterte said on Wednesday.
As of now, Duterte said the House Committee on Housing and urban development has consolidated HB No. 455 with 18 other similar bills seeking to strengthen the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) rental subsidy and financial assistance program.
It has not been passed on the second reading yet, despite Duterte’s bill and HB No. 305 — two of the earliest bills on the said matter — being submitted last July 26, 2022.
Under the said proposed measure, the DHSUD and the National Economic and Development Authority would be tasked to determine how much of ISFs’ rental payments would be subsidized based on the minimum wage and rental rates in a region.
ISF would be eligible for the program if they do not relocate to their original residence, aside from paying the lessor the remaining amount of the rent.
According to the lawmaker, it is important to approve and enact the bill as it would help people cope with rising expenses in terms while shielding them from the negative effects of homelessness.
“Given the loss of livelihood of many Filipinos resulting from the economic shock of the recent pandemic and the devastation wrought by strong typhoons that have rendered hundreds of thousands homeless, these numbers reported by the PSA are expected to rise,” Duterte said.
“Government housing projects take time to build. We cannot just neglect the plight of our homeless countrymen and allow them to continue to suffer while they wait to be resettled,” he added. With reports from Harold Hernandez, trainee
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