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The road to a housing solution

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One of the basic needs of the human is shelter, which is liveable and spacious enough to cater a family. Many in this community have been following developments involving the shelter, the downtown operation that for decades has housed the homeless and those seeking transitional housing. The truth is that there are many challenges faced by those people who work tirelessly to find solutions for those in need of housing in our country. For some, the shelter has served that role, but the shelter was designed to provide emergency shelter, not long-term housing. In the past few years, steps have been taken to address this issue. The need for affordable housing has long been discussed in our country. According to article that I’ve read, in the Philippines less than 1/3 can afford proper shelter. In Metro Manila alone, there are 3.1 informal settlers; 23% stay in government land, 22% in private properties, 15% in danger zones (which include the streets, bridges, riversides, and along train tracks), and 40% on infrastructure sites. There still exists a huge problem on housing in the Philippines. Various factors affect this such as financing, government policies and interventions, institutional subsidies, and the values and culture the Filipino people illustrate.

The concern for housing should grow because of the fact that the Philippines are considered to be part of the ‘typhoon belt.’ More and more people would suffer in such disasters if proper housing is not addressed. I believe that money is not only the issue that involve of housing problems. I think migration of people in rural areas to urban areas is one of reasons. Most people usually think that they will have a better life if they live in urban areas rather than rural and a higher income compare to rural areas. Robust population growth was also concerned this matter, if the population was still increased, the government should continue to produced housing until all people have their owned house, but the case is the government still doesn’t have a solution to provide housing and if it is continue to increase the population, the lack of housing also increased. Poverty due to unemployment is another reason. Increasing of unemployed people was big impact why people cannot afford housing. And lastly, I think minimum wage of Filipinos, if they have enough salary that will sustain of all their needs, I think there will be no Filipinos doesn’t have their own house.

I think the writer has a point on saying that poor families wanted to live where they can able to live in their own and can say that they owned it, but I think it is not the right strategy that one storey house is the solution to the problem. The fact is that the available land is fast disappearing around the metropolitan area and the extensive public housing and subdivisions. I think that High density housing is what we need to do located within the city centers where commerce is dynamic and besides the infrastructures are existing including roads, electricity, water, schools and more importantly jobs. These housing units should be livable with parks and recreation and should not be located in an area to fail. We need to mix these housing units within successful communities to make them work instead of creating artificial housing.

There are countless of reasons on how to solve housing, but the main factors would hugely depend on the government (both national and local), people, and non-governmental organizations willing to help in the housing program of the Philippines. First of all, the government has the biggest role amongst all. It is the role of the government to create policies that will suit well the country’s needs. It is also the government’s role to properly manage and regulate the Filipino people in following such policies. Laws have to be examined and cleared especially with regards land use. This is specifically addressed to illegal squatting issues. People have to be given notice about these rules, then they can strictly implement the policies and violators should be apprehended justly. We all know that ignorance to the law is not an excuse, but of course, being a poor country, not all people have access to basic information. It is still, I believe, the task of government to convey these important information to public.

Another issue that can be touched here is taxation. There is a need for systematic information on land and real estate properties in the Philippines; this would enhance a better taxation. Better taxation can lead to more budgets for programs in helping the housing problem in the Philippines. Of course, corruption is another issue that surfaces from here. This is where the values of the Filipino people have to be fixed. The Filipino people should start valuing other people’s lives. We are sacrificing here lives of millions of people while the few get rich and filthy through corruption. It’s basic, try to lessen corruption; not necessarily eradicate totally, but minimize it to the lowest level that we can. Everywhere else in the world exists corruption, but our corruption level is just way up high. This should be corrected because we are a poor nation. The worse corruption gets, the deeper we get into the poverty trap. People’s money should go to the right places, and these are projects and programs to uplift human existence.

The next solution is fixing the financial side of housing. The government still has a role here, and that is to create the right regulatory policies in financing for housing projects or programs. This is specifically in line with middle-cost housing. It shouldn’t be too tight or too relaxed. Making it too tight would limit the opportunity for citizens to actually take part of such programs. Making it to lenient on the other hand could be cumbersome as well, just like what the recent financial crisis in America demonstrates. When people see opportunities such as relaxed rates, they obviously would take it, even though a lot of them actually take more than what they can afford, it’s a common reflex of human nature. Banks on one hand will tend to take advantage of the relaxed policies because more people would sure want to borrow money from them for financing. But as we see, the market does fail also at times. By the end of the day, the policy that triggered such events to happen is still the one to get most of the blame. And it does deserve the blame. So government has the biggest responsibility to play and weigh things right.

Subsidies and other sources of funding is also a solution to this problem. International organizations and non-governmental organizations do play a huge role in addressing such problems. It is a fact that government cannot do everything effectively and efficiently. This is where the role of these organizations comes in. These organizations do not exist to compete with government or to make government look bad. They do exist to complement the government in areas where it lacks in providing its services. Subsidies and funding are good; it’s just that these organizations need to communicate and work with the right people. I still believe in the effectiveness of such organizations working with the government especially the local government units (LGUs). They should integrate planning with one another to make sure that things don’t overlap; as this would waste resources. I would also want to stress out that such grants should be directed at the right projects. Middle-cost housing should be more focused on financial funding from banks; and these banks should always a have a reliable basis in lending credit. Direct subsidies on the other hand should be more directed at low-cost housing where more people do need grants.

If the government has an open eyed to see all this situation before and to have unity to helping each other nor rich people and poor people and also public and private sectors will also cooperate, I think the long discussed issue about the housing problems is solve even before.

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