Latest Stories

Give them homes but not in usual relocation sites


THE INCREASINGLY concentrated poverty in informal urban settlements is one of the consequences of urbanization. Photo by Arnold Almacen

First of two parts

Urbanization of cities and the formation of large informal settlements go hand in hand. This has been a challenge for the Philippines as it tries to industrialize, achieve social improvements and better quality of life for its people.

However, rapid urbanization is often an overwhelming management and financial challenge for both the national and local governments. The increasingly concentrated poverty in  informal urban settlements is one of the consequences of urbanization.

Take for example Metro Manila, which is the country’s most populous—at 11.5 million inhabitants—and most urbanized area. However, it is also home to 2.85 million individuals or 570,000 families living in the squalor of informal settlements, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

“This is about a quarter of Metro Manila’s population with no inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, living in substandard houses as well as overcrowded communities, suffering from hunger, poor health and exposed to high levels of crime,” said Paul Tanchi, national president of Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), the largest organization of real estate developers in the country.


One of the few options available to these informal settlers is to relocate them to safer but usually far locations. This is particularly being done to the 60,130 families illegally living in waterways as a number of them are currently being resettled to Trece Martirez in Cavite and in San Jose del Monte, Bocaue, Norzagaray and Pandi in Bulacan.

However, this is just a portion of the number of families in Metro Manila—estimated to at 104,219—who are illegally living in dangerous locations like near a fault line, under high voltage tower, prone to landslide, fire or chemical hazards.

Tanchi said: “Despite the efforts, the number of those families living in informal settlements continue to grow because of rapid population growth, plus the fact that many of those already relocated families eventually go back. The situation is compounded by those migrating from the province, who believe that jobs are more likely to be available in the city.”


Indeed, uprooting these families from their source of livelihood has proven futile. “This is the reason a lot of those relocated families end up going back to their former addresses. So how do we prevent this while still providing decent and affordable housing to these underprivileged families?” Tanchi said.

In a plan being proposed by SHDA and other stakeholders, private developers are ready to offer undertaking and financing the construction of the socialized medium-rise buildings (MRBs) on turnkey basis as well as provide assistance in the evaluation, processing and documentation of loans for program beneficiaries.

Architect Jose de Guzman, SHDA senior adviser to the board of governors, said: “The key here is the participation of the both national and local governments as the socialized MRBs that we will build on the needed pieces of land—particularly those government-owned in-city land (for example, those located within Metro Manila). As we all know the cost of private lands here in Metro Manila is prohibitively high.”

(To be continued)

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: property , relocation sites , Urbanization

  • Gastig

    Informal settlers, urban poor, the poor all who get assistance from the government should be subject to mandatory population control measures. Married or unmarried couples should only have 0-1 child unless they can show proof of increased income.

    I am tired of seeing them cry on TV because they can no longer feed their six kids!

  • Guest

    Why can’t we just encourage them to move to less-urban areas or in some parts of Visayas where they’ll live in a better environment free of poverty full of resources such crops from plantations and hunt animals for meat in the forests. Why must they move to Metro Manila where they’ll be treated like pests and neglected by the middle & upper class residents?

  • tadasolo

    Only the leadership and initiative from the private sector with government support will solve the housing crisis in metro. By providing a decent alternative to illegal settling in dangerous areas, the leadership of the SHDA is taking it to the next level

  • Guest

    Just burn all of them. Easy.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 12 dead, 96 injured in Holy Week accidents–NDRRMC
  • Filipino devotees re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Rouhani talks peace, outreach at army parade
  • Rains, thunderstorms on Good Friday
  • Carbon monoxide leak suffocates 20 in Catbalogan City
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Marketplace