Why Quezon City needs socialized housing

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By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Last October 25, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista finally signed the controversial Socialized Housing Tax (SHT).

The SHT is a a citywide ordinance that imposes a one-half percent (or 0.5%) annual tax on assessed value of land in excess of P100,000.  As the term implies, its purpose is to allow the Quezon City administration to provide socialized housing for the urban poor, particularly informal settlers.

According to statistics from the local government, the number of informal settlers in the city is pegged at 1.17 million, or about 232,430 families. This is equivalent to 40 percent of the city’s 2.8 million residents.

Mayor Bautista has been beleaguered by concerns regarding the increasing number of informal settlers, which are partly being blamed for increased crime in the city and illegal use of land assets. Many settlers also refuse to leave occupied land assets and often fight enforcement officials when they are forcibly removed.

In particular, the city government also spends huge amount of local government unit (LGU) funds during disasters as informal settlers are among the most prone to home destruction during strong typhoons, flooding, and fires.

Informal settlers are also blamed for flooding in Quezon City as they dump trash in waterways and sewage systems.  Many also settle near rivers, where their homes are easily destroyed by raging floods, which also endanger other lives as debris from destroyed homes could further clog water systems.

According to Bautista, the placement of informal settlers in socialized housing would greatly reduce what he calls “blighted areas”, which are unhygienic places that could be sources of contagious diseases. Removing these blighted areas would lessen the burden on disease control and prevent other problems.

Prior to signing the ordinance, Bautista has been conducting activities leading up to his socialized housing projects.

One of these is the Design Against the Elements competition wherein architectural firms would design eco-friendly and sustainable housing projects. These designs would be incorporated in socialized housing projects.

Still, the criticism against the ordinance is that the SHT would put additional burden on the city’s taxpayers to support belligerent, many of whom take abuse by claiming that the government has to put up with their social status.

But for Bautista, the argument is that it would take everyone’s sacrifice for the SHT and perhaps finally put a cap to the problem on informal settlers and the other problems that go with it.

Related stories:

QC to host contest on sustainable housing designs

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marcial bonifacio says:

I AGREE!!! Tolerating a violation by non-enforcement of the law is the biggest sin made by any LGU or local official. Punish the enforcer 1st before the violator to create discipline atmosphere. Lead by example!!!

bong villanueva says:

Sorry, it’s Section 30 Art VII not Art VIII of RA 7279. Sections 27 & 28 of Art VII discusses the enforcement of demolition for informal settlers. My apologies. Ty

bong villanueva says:

Full enforcement of the law is the sworn duty of any Local Government Official. It’s their responsibility. They were elected because people trust & believe in them as protectors of their welfare. How can LGUs protect our welfare if they don’t enforce the law? Pedestrians have their rights & privileged but if barangay officials tolerate illegal parking on sidewalks, use of roads as “talyer” & encroachment of sidewalk by illegal structures, then their given rights are not protected & assured but instead taken from them. Ty

bong villanueva says:

Very clear in section 30 art VIII of RA 7279 that a barangay official, city councilor or congressman who tolerates the construction of illegal dwellings or structures in their jurisdiction shall be administratively liable. It’s just unfortunate this provision is not being implemented. Why? Politics!!! A city mayor would not dare file charges against a barangay captain (no pun intended). The DILG should positively act on this. They need to discipline LGUs with regards to non-enforcement of the law. Enforcement is mandatory & not discretionary. Ty