SAYING the government’s socialized housing projects do not really suit the needs of the thousands of informal settlers, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday said she is eyeing “cheaper” housing programs for its residents.
Belmonte said in most instances, a “supposedly” low-cost housing unit would cost P450,000.
“So we cannot reduce [the number of our] informal settler families because they cannot afford the socialized housing house, which is P450,000 in loan,” she added.
Most of these “poorest of the poor,” the vice mayor said, are neither members of Pag-IBIG’s Home Mutual Development Fund nor qualified to get a housing loan.
At present, Belmonte said there are about 190,000 informal settler families in Quezon City, but believes there are thousands more unaccounted for by the city government.
“The P450,000 in my personal opinion is that it’s too high and not affordable to the target market which is your informal settler families, 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.
“So what would I do? I would explore other ways of providing cheaper housing,” she added.
Belmonte said she is looking for more affordable shelter programs “that would truly benefit the city’s poorest of the poor.”
“Actually, if you carefully scrutinize the programs, if you go through the beneficiaries of some of these housing projects, it wasn’t really the poorest of the poor. It wasn’t really the informal settlers. It was the salaried sector,” she said.
The vice mayor did not mention what particular government housing program that failed to address the needs of the informal settlers.
Belmonte said she was able to attend a conference about a socialized housing program of the Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation Inc. utilizing bamboo housing in the city’s Barangay Silangan at a cheaper cost of P300,000, but with a bigger space and sturdier built.
She said the government of Thailand is helping out housing cooperatives to provide homes to the indigent.
“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, because in Thailand they subsidize 80,000, maybe we can do it here,” she pointed out.