Sen. Bongbong Marcos: We need different and more specific solution to solve urban homelessness

18 March 2011

17MAR2011_depHousingjpgSenator Bongbong Marcos said that medium-rise or high-rise developments, rental housing, and resettlement into communities could be effective solutions to the problems of homelessness, most especially in urban areas. Urban housing problems need “specific and different solutions”, Senator Bongbong said, “dahil alam naman natin na maraming social effects ang kawalan ng bahay lalo na sa mga lungsod.” “There is an increase in crime, drug addiction, lack of education and health services, and cost. All that comes into play when we are talking about urban homeless. So we will try to treat that as a special problem because it is a more difficult problem than the problem in the rural areas”, Senator Marcos said.

Firstly, he suggested a shift of focus to medium-rise and high-rise developments, especially “in the case of highly urbanized areas, where there is very little available land which certainly would not be enough if we were going to build the usual developments for low-cost and socialized housing. He even opined that the government, “would not be misguided if (it) were to use the BLISS Program as a model for that because that has proven quite effective,” an opinion which earned the approval from representatives of the NHA and HUDCC. The Bagong Lipunan Sites and Services, or popularly known as the BLISS communities, was a housing project of the then Ministry of Human Settlements, which was used to be chaired by the Senator’s mother, former First Lady–now Representative–Imelda R. Marcos.

Senator Bongbong also said that he hopes to expanded the scope and concept of the housing program and extend it to rental and leased housing, as a less costly but equally viable alternative to homeownership. “I know that the general tendency, which is perfectly natural, is for people to want to own a house and lot. But given the situation especially in the urban areas, perhaps, we should look further into rental housing. Because failing anything else, that may be the only option left to some who need housing.” He added that the concept of rental housing may even present itself as a possible solution to the problem of squatting or informal settling in urban areas, noting that in some cases informal settlers do shell out a certain amount, which are paid to illegal syndicates that charge fees in exchange for rights to occupy properties that rightfully belong to others. “If we bring it aboveboard and into the light of day, (these informal settlers) could be renting from the actual owners...and they would not anymore be evicted,” said the Senator.

Senator Marcos also has said that government and stakeholders should “change our idea of resettlement”, and “make sure that people are resettled into communities, and not merely structures”, meaning that housing projects should incorporate as much as possible the elements and basic comforts of daily life, like schools, churches, business establishments, transportation access, communication facilities and other utilities.