Belmonte eyes housing subsidy for poor residents
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte yesterday said they are studying the possibility of granting housing subsidy for poor residents, noting the need to provide cheaper housing programs for informal settler families (ISFs) in the city.

Belmonte said the number of informal settlers in the city barely decreased in recent years because the current social housing program of the city government is still expensive.

“If you go through the beneficiaries of some of these housing projects, it wasn’t really the poorest of the poor. It wasn’t the informal settlers... It was the salaried sector,” she said.

The vice mayor said a unit in the city’s socialized housing program still costs P450,000 – way above the financial capacity of poor residents.

“My personal opinion is that it’s too high and not affordable to the target market, which is your ISFs. So the ones who benefited are probably salaried employees who used to rent and cannot afford to buy condos because it is too expensive,” she said.

“What I would do? I would explore other ways of providing cheaper housing,” she added.

Belmonte said countries like Thailand have introduced subsidy programs to lower the cost of housing.

“I’m studying this option of subsidizing because when you think about housing, it is a basic human right. It’s like food or education or health, so if it is feasible financially to subsidize a little like Thailand, maybe we can do it,” she said.

The vice mayor also proposed looking at other types of houses that can be constructed, such as those made of bamboo that are cheaper, bigger and sturdier.

Belmonte said there are about 190,000 ISFs in the city, adding that thousands may have been unaccounted for by the local government.

INFORMAL SETTLERS JOY BELMONTE
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