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House panel OKs bill on relocation for IS

HAVING affordable homes and easy access to basic services may no longer be a dilemma for thousands of informal settler families (ISFs) as a bill providing for their onsite relocation inches closer to becoming a law.

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the House committee on housing and urban development’s approval of a substitute bill authorizing onsite relocation shows lawmakers’ commitment in passing pro-people legislation.

House Bill (HB) 236 filed by Vargas was among the bills consolidated by the House panel chaired by Bacoor Rep. Strike Revilla.

The substitute bill is expected to be introduced to the plenary soon for further deliberations.

“The passage of a bill providing for onsite resettlement is long overdue. The need for its approval becomes even more urgent now that we’re facing a pandemic. Poor families need easy access to social services and their workplaces. Having a home shouldn’t always mean resettlement in far-flung areas where life may be harder for them,” he said.

Vargas said workers in rural resettlement areas usually deal with long commuting hours as their workplace is far from where they live. Families also find it difficult to go to hospitals or send their children to school as these are often located in urban areas.

As a result of these challenges, he said some families resort to selling their homes and moving back to informal settlement areas.

“Poor families shouldn’t be made to choose between having their own homes in far-flung areas or staying in informal settler communities where they will be closer to jobs and schools. They should be resettled in cities where they live or at most, in a place closer to where they currently reside,” Vargas said.

The substitute bill approved by the committee mandates local government units (LGUs) to partner with informal settler families in crafting a resettlement plan.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, in coordination with LGUs, will be tasked to provide basic services and livelihood for the relocated families.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight