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Lawmakers craft housing program for urban poor

Updated December 28, 2008 12:00 AM [ ]

A P3-billion special housing and rehabilitation program for Metro Manila’s urban poor is underway as a bill in the House of Representatives that would give them “decent, humane and safe living conditions” would soon become a reality.

In a statement, Speaker Prospero Nograles said more than 126,230 families will benefit from the program that was initiated by Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing.

He has endorsed the plenary approval of a substitute measure to the original House Bill 2596 that was approved by the House committee on housing and urban development of Rep. Rodolfo Valencia. HB 2596 set up P3-billion in funds for the urban poor.

The principal beneficiaries are families living in almost sub-human environment, especially those along canals, dump sites and other danger zones in Metro Manila, according to Nograles.

“This program, collectively initiated by Metro Manila lawmakers led by Bagatsing, has become more imperative, in wake of the perennial problems and tragedies that lurk every rainy season made worse by the economic crisis,” he said.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Valencia said the measure will be included in the House plenary’s order of business by the committee on rules, chaired by House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, who, “from the very start had expressed his support for the crucial measure.”

Nograles said Valencia’s “judicious action… mirrors the House leadership’s determination to put in place long term programs and permanent solutions to alleviate the sad plight of our people in depressed areas.”

“The multi-billion program will bring about more than 10-fold social benefits in terms of employment, peace and order, environment protection, the birth of new downstream small and medium enterprises within and adjacent the covered areas of the development program,” Nograles revealed.

The approved substitute bill provides “for the resettlement, aid and rehabilitation services for the underprivileged and homeless citizens affected in the demolition or houses/dwellings along danger areas such as esteros, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other places such as sidewalks, roads, parks and playgrounds as well as the victims of disasters and calamities and those affected by government infrastructure projects in Metro Manila and for other purposes.”

Government statistics for Metro Manila show that approximately 14,132 families live along canals; 11,340 along road rights of way; 67,949 along waterways; 14,072 along transmission lines; 2,821 near airports; and about 16,506 spread in areas of priority development, dump sites, sewerage systems and market places. – Delon Porcalla


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