SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated the need to address homelessness by pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2393, otherwise known as the Rental Housing Subsidy Act of 2021, which he principally authored and co-sponsored to provide Filipinos a way to have their own homes, especially those who were displaced by natural and man-made disasters.
In a co-sponsorship speech during the Senate Session, Go expressed that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of homeless Filipinos continued to rise and this dilemma resulted to poor quality of life, particularly in Metro Manila and other big cities.
“The continuing onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation of Filipinos living in congested urban centers, particularly in Metro Manila,” Go said.
“COVID-19 has brought not only health problems but also adverse economic effects to the country which resulted in a vast increase in unemployment. This resulted in a host of other issues, such as poverty, inequality, hunger and malnutrition, as well as lack of sustainable livelihoods, among others,” he added.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, Go continues to extend support to communities in crisis situations particularly in places where homes are lost due to fires and calamities.
Go then lamented that many homeless families are either living in shelters, temporary housing or, worse, in the streets or sidewalks, adding that Filipinos deserve decent homes where they can feel safe and secure.
“Sa pag-iikot ko at pagbibigay tulong sa mga kababayan nating nasunugan, I have witnessed, first-hand, the worsening situation of the lives of our fellow countrymen, especially those who have no permanent place to call home,” said Go.
“Now, more than ever, we need to provide homes for displaced families and help them sustain livelihoods by offering various options during the interim process of construction and relocation,” he continued.
To alleviate homelessness in the country, Senator Go filed SBN 2393 that aims to develop a housing and social protection program to ensure eligible Informal Settlers Beneficiaries can conveniently access the formal housing market by offering a rental subsidy.
Under the said measure, eligible Informal Settler Beneficiaries or individuals or households living in a house or unit without consent of the lot owner or those living in danger areas shall receive a rental subsidy of Php3,500 for those residing in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, for those living in other regions, the amount of the subsidy will be jointly determined by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the National Economic and Development Authority.
The rental subsidy shall then be granted to eligible beneficiaries until the date of completion of the permanent housing project intended for them or upon their actual transfer to the permanent housing project.
“Mr. Chair, kaya ko po inihain ang panukalang batas na ito dahil hangarin po natin na wala nang squatter sa ating sariling bayan,” Go cited.
“Uulitin ko po, dapat po magkaroon ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng isang maayos at disenteng tirahan. Pangako po naming dalawa ni Pangulong Duterte, na bigyan ng mas maginhawang buhay ang bawat Pilipino, lalong lalo na po ang mga mahihirap,” he ended.