BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan announced that the local government will be working on the formulation of a complete list of urban poor in the city to prevent the proliferation of professional squatters in the different barangays that contribute to the complication of the problems of urban centers.
The local chief executive disclosed that he will issue the appropriate administrative order that will merge the City Housing Board and the City Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures Committee so that the appropriate policies relative to the proliferation of informal settlers will be addressed.
“We are obligated to provide assistance to those who really need help and to those who are willing to help themselves. We do not want some people to take advantage of the urban poor when they are actually urban rich that contributes in complicating our existing housing problems,” Domogan stressed.
He emphasized that the complete roster of legitimate urban poor in the city will serve as the basis in the provision of housing assistance so that the real informal settlers will be the ones to benefit from the support being provided to them by the government.
According to him, it is unfortunate that there are some individuals who claim to be members of the urban poor when they are actually considered as urban rich that is why efforts are being done to correct the previous practice that those who are not members of the urban poor are the ones gaining from the benefits being extended by the government.
He called on officials of concerned housing agencies to closely work with the local governments when dealing with the members of the urban poor in the city so that the deserving informal settlers will be the ones that will be granted the benefits instead of those landed ones who are considered professional squatters which affect the implementation of the government’s housing programs.
He said that it is unfortunate that those who illegally built their houses in the Baguio Dairy Farm are also those who claim to be urban poor in Bakakeng Central, Camp 7 and other parts of the city, thus, in-depth validation must be done on the status of the said individuals in the barangays to prevent the government from wasting the assistance that it will be providing them for housing purposes once they are not actually members of the urban poor.
Lawyer Arnulfo Ricardo Cabling, president of the Social Housing Finance Corporation, appreciated the planned completion of the list of urban poor in the city because it will greatly help in reducing the efforts of the agency in the provision of housing assistance for the legitimate informal settlers for their housing needs.
He informed city officials that the SHFC will relax its existing policies in the grant of housing assistance to informal settlers because the situation in every locality is actually different, thus, the agency will be dealing with the informal settlers in a case to case basis.
Cabling assured city officials and members of urban poor organizations that the provision of housing assistance to deserving informal settlers will be done in close coordination with the local government to ensure that the assistance will be given to the right persons so as not to waste public funds.
By Dexter A. See