Press Release
April 15, 2016


Independent vice-presidential candidate Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said keeping informal settler families (ISFs) in urban centers through on-site resettlement would enable them to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

According to Escudero, the long-standing government policy of shooing ISFs away from the city and bringing them to undeveloped communities at the fringes of the metropolis should be stopped because it has failed to address the needs of the homeless and improve their lives.

"We've used this approach over and over again and we've seen the same results: the homeless remain homeless because the relocated families come back to the city.

"The poor will remain poor if we insist on relocating the informal settlers to areas outside our cities where they do not have access to basic services, education and employment opportunities," he said.

Escudero said he and his presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe, will push for an on-site resettlement program for ISFs to provide them with decent housing without having to relocate them to areas where jobs and livelihood opportunities are scarce.

Poe and Escudero are running as independents under the "Gobyernong may Puso" platforms of rapid and inclusive growth, poverty alleviation, transparency and global competitiveness.

Escudero said their tandem believes that every person should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.

"Imbes na sinisipa 'yung mahirap palayo at iwanan malapit na bundok at malayo sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan, dapat gobyerno ang magtayo sa lupa na pag-aari nito at hayaang mamalagi rooon ang ating mga kababayan malapit sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan, malapit sa pinag-aaralan ng kanilang mga anak," Escudero pointed out.

Since around 70 percent of the estimated 3,000 hectares occupied by ISFs in the National Capitol Region (NCR) are owned by the state, Escudero said the government could build medium-rise residential buildings on these lands for the same families.

He said the Poe administration will make sure that the monthly amortization for socialized or low-cost housing loans will not exceed P500 so that poor families can afford them.

According to Escudero, on-site resettlement could address the housing problem of the poor not only in Metro Manila but also in other urban centers around the country where residents seeking employment gravitate.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority placed at 2.8 million the number of informal settlers living in NCR, or about 556,526 families, as of 2010.

In 2013, the Department of the Interior and Local Government identified some 104,000 families residing in areas considered as danger zones, such as railroad tracks, garbage dumps, canals, rivers and creeks.

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