DESPITE the growing homelessness in this poverty-stricken but natural resources-rich Southeast Asian nation, not a single centavo was allocated for mass housing in the proposed 2019 national budget.
Certainly, the “bad news” saddened and surprised the millions of homeless Filipinos, particularly those living in the slum districts of the Metropolitan Manila (MM) area and other parts of the country.
Mostly jobless from the countryside, these squatters or informal settlers, who dream of one day escaping from the misery and squalor, live in oven-like shanties which are only inches apart.
Of course, many quarters agree with well-meaning Filipinos that there’s that urgent need to come up with the best practical solution to the mushrooming backlog of housing units in the Philippines.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas questioned the zero budget for the construction of mass housing units intended for the many poor, reminding the government of the country’s 5.7 million housing backlog.
The neglect of the housing crisis will surely fuel more occupations of idle public housing units and foment more protests among the growing ranks of the homeless, according to Brosas.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives tackled the budget of agencies related to housing projects, including the National Housing Authority and National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas is vice chairman of the Housing committee on appropriations.
We share the view of many sectors that the strengthening of the government’s mass housing program will go a long way in addressing the growth of shanty towns not only in MM but elsewhere.
We, thus, urge concerned government offices and agencies to prioritize the construction of more low-cost housing units for the benefit of the millions of homeless Filipino families.