21% of Metro Manila residents are squatters

James Ryan Jonas

If the report of the Metro Manila Inter-Agency Committee on Informal Settlers (MMIAC) is to be believed, one out of every five residents in Metro Manila is a squatter.
The Inquirer quoted a report of the MMIAC saying that there are more than 544,609 households of informal settlers in Metro Manila, representing 21% of the total 2.6 million households population.
Shelter program for squatters
The MMIAC is a committee tasked by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2007 to provide a shelter program to squatters or informal settlers.
It is composed of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), National Housing Authority (NHA), local government units, the Urban Poor Affairs Office, Housing and Urban Development and Coordinating Council, Presidential Commission on Urban Poor, Office of the Undersecretary for Religious Affairs, Commission on Human rights, Caritas Manila representing the Catholic Church, and other government agencies.
Socialized housing in resettlement areas
According to the MMIAC, the Philippine government would need around P3.2 billion every year for the next 10 years to provide socialized housing units to informal settlers.
The government has already started offering off-site, off-city resettlement areas where squatters are relocated and provided with their own house and lot properties. The government initially covers the costs and recovers these through cheap monthly amortization ranging from P300 to P1,000.
The squatters problem in the Philippines has been a perennial problem since time immemorial. How do you think this can be solved?
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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.