A MEASURE requiring informal settlers to be relocated within or near the same city or municipality has passed out of committee at the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on Housing and Urban Development approved Wednesday House Bill No. (HB) 4869, or the proposed Local Government Unit-led On-site, In-City or Near-City Resettlement Act, which seeks to amend Republic Act. No. 7279 or the Urban Development and House Act of 1992.
HB 4896 authorizes local government-based resettlement programs to implement on-site, in-city, near-city, or off-city resettlement strategies for informal settlers.
The bill also requires consultation and hearings with affected families and civil society organizations before a relocation or demolition takes place.
The measure requires the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, in collaboration with LGUs, to provide basic services and livelihood for the relocated families.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus B. Rodriquez, the bill’s author, said the Constitution requires the government to “undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas.”
Citing a study by the University of Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Rodriguez said the country is projected to have a “housing need of 12.3 million by 2030.
“The housing and resettlement policy is primarily offsite relocation. The government builds houses for informal settler families in areas outside Metro Manila or in rural areas in Cagayan de Oro, where there is lack of employment, sustainable livelihood and social services,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Rodriguez noted that many of those who had agreed to be relocated often returned to the capital region and other urban centers for jobs, healthcare and other services.
“Thus the need for onsite, in-city or near-city resettlement, which upholds the urban poor’s right to the city in order to comply with our Constitution’s mandate,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza