WITH so many people still in the grip of grinding poverty, homelessness remains a major headache of national and local government authorities in various parts of the country.
Jobless and homeless, many of these unfortunate Filipinos from the countryside, where majority of the poor live, are forced to stay in the slum districts of Metropolitan Manila (MM).
In MM and surrounding areas, these thousands, possibly millions, of squatters or “informal settlers” live in crammed and leaking shanties beside esteros, creeks and stinking dumpsites
But in Manila, we take note of Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s multi-pronged housing program for his underprivileged constituents, including employees of city hall.
Aware of the rising cost of building houses, the actor-turned-public servant is now determined to have his housing project “affordable” to poor Manilans.
“We do not want people to suffer from paying a housing unit to the point they can no longer afford it. It defeats the purpose. I will make people pay pero kung magkano lang siguro ang kaya nila,” he said.
And Moreno was quick to emphasize: “Hindi tayo magpapatayo ng 18 square-meter na parang bahay ng kalapati, masabi lang na may pabahay.Magpapagawa rin lang tayo, yung maganda na.”
With the unsolved problem of homelessness not only in Metropolitan Manila but in other parts of the country, Moreno’s launching of his housing program for the poor is a welcome development.
Perhaps, other local government units (LGUs) across the country, particularly those in far-flung area, would do well to consider adopting Moreno’s housing program for the poor.
And for the benefit of the poorest of the poor, we urge the country’s local government officials to do something more effective regarding homelessness and rising cost of house rentals.