Rooting out corruption so that misused taxpayers’ money can be redirected to finance state-funded housing projects is one of the best ways to resolve the problem of informal settlers in the country, according to presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson.
Lacson addressed this issue with a pragmatic approach after it was brought to his attention by a resident from Antipolo City, Rizal. The person has been renting a house and has been living in constant fear of getting evicted because he could not afford a real estate property of his own.
In a town hall forum held at the Ynares Center on Friday (April 22), Lacson enlightened voters that the Philippine housing sector currently has a gap of 5.3 million housing units nationwide, and breaching this would entail significant budget allocation from the national government.
“Cinompute compute po namin. Ang paggawa para makabuo ng isang bahay, isang maliit na bahay 24 square meters ‘pag ito’y high-rise, P580,000 ang isa. Ito ‘yung building. Kapag detached naman, 24-square meters na nasa 40-square-meter lot, P750,000 ang isa,” Lacson explained.
We did a computation. To build a house, a small housing unit—24 square meters—in a high-rise building, it would cost P580,000 each. If it’s detached, a 24-square meter home in a 40-square meter lot, it would cost P750,000 each.
Lacson said he does not want to make a false promise to the public and tell them outright that he would give them house-and-lot packages if he wins the elections, which is a common trick applied by most politicians. Instead, he vowed to develop better strategies to achieve a similar goal.
“Madaling sabihin, ‘lahat kayo ‘pag nanalo ako, tiyak na may tahanan.’ Hindi po namin pwedeng gawin ‘yon. Cinompute compute po namin. Kapag isinakatuparan natin 5.3 million houses, P500-billion isang taon sa budget.Kakainin po ‘yung ating national budget,” according to the senator.
It is easy to say, ‘if I win, I guarantee all of you will have a house.’ We cannot do that because we did our computation. If we are going to deliver 5.3 million houses, it would take at least P500-billion from our national budget in one year. It will eat up our national budget.
One way of dealing with this problem, Lacson said, is to come up with productivity enhancing state policies that would be conducive to the social and economic development of everyone. This includes getting rid of corruption since the government loses P700 billion on average annually because of it.
The veteran statesman likewise pitched his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) program as a viable long-term solution in which local government units (LGUs) would be given the wherewithal to provide for the needs and priorities of their respective constituencies.
Under such policy, the LGUs from the provincial down to the barangay levels would be granted separate budget allocation to implement various state-funded projects be it housing, electrification, tourism or livelihood on top of their national tax allotment.
Senatorial aspirant and former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Piñol, for his part, vowed to help the Lacson administration introduce policy directions through legislation that could resolve the concerns of informal settlers who took care of lands for a longtime but were being denied land titles.
“All over Metro Manila, pati sa Rizal, maraming mga informal settler na hanggang ngayon wala pang kasiguruhan ang kanilang pagmamay-ari ng lupa.Mr. President, kapag may awa ang Panginoon at ikaw ay naluklok bilang pangulo ng Pilipinas, ito po ang isa kong isusulong na programa para sa inyo,” he told Lacson.
All over Metro Manila, even in Rizal, there are so many informal settlers who until now remain uncertain whether they could secure ownership of the property. Mr. President, God-willing and you are elected as President of the Philippines, I will pursue this program under your watch.
“Kasi ito po ‘yung isa sa mga sanhi ng ating mga social problem. Nakatayo ‘yung bahay ng pobre, pinaghirapan niya, ‘yung lupa hindi niya malaman kung mapapasakanya ba o hindi. We have to resolve this problem once and for all, Mr. President,” Piñol added.
Because this is one of the causes of our social problems. The poor worked hard to build his own home, but there is no guarantee if the land where it was built could be declared his property or not. We have to resolve this problem once and for all, Mr. President.