In an attempt to create more efficient measures for informal settlers, the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development had approved a bill directing local government units to create a more efficient resettlement program.
The Near City Resettlement Act, authored by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez cited that the bill gained an overwhelming support towards the motion. He said that the resolution aims to help 1.5 million informal settler families (ISFs). There are almost 600,000 IFS residing in Metro Manila.
“This measure is included in the package of bills addressing the country’s 5.5 million housing backlogs. The package also includes a bill transferring government offices to the provinces and a resolution standardizing the definitions of housing terminologies,” he said.
He also explained that this proposal is entirely different from the current resettlement scheme being enforced by the government.
In Benitez’s proposal, the Local Government Units will be tasked to create resettlement areas that are close to employment and other economic opportunities. This is in contrast to the current resettlement scheme where it mandates IFS to be transferred to sites outside urban centers where there are no socio-economic opportunities, thus pushing the settlers to go back in setting up illegal settlements in order to be closer to their source of living.
The bill also calls for the participation of government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Philippine Trade and Training Center in providing skills and livelihood training.
It encourages the beneficiaries to organize themselves in associations for their accreditation as beneficiaries or awardees of ownership rights under various programs such as the resettlement program, community mortgage, land tenure assistance and other programs in relation to a socialized housing project to be implemented by either the national government or the LGUs.