A measure that would grant rental subsidies to eligible informal settlers is being sought in the 19th Congress amid the prevalence of strong typhoons and other calamities that displace tens of thousands of families.  

Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte filed House Bill (HB) No.455, which aims to help families living in hazardous areas or those rendered homeless by calamities to avail themselves of safe, decent shelter.  

The proposed rental subsidy program also covers informal settler families (ISFs) who do not have legal claims to the lots or houses they occupy.  

Co-authored by Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Edvic Yap, HB No.455 has been consolidated  by the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development with 18 other bills that also aim to provide rental subsidies to ISFs.  

The recommendations of the House Committee on Appropriations have already been incorporated into the substitute bill.  

“People forced to squat on private property because of poverty, those living in danger areas, and those who lost their homes due to strong typhoons and other calamities or because they have been affected by public infrastructure projects should be given the chance to live in humane, decent conditions while waiting to be transferred to their permanent housing  sites,” Duterte said.  

The bill aims to institutionalize and further strengthen the ongoing rental subsidy and financial assistance program of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).  

Under the measure, the rental subsidy will be determined by the DHSUD and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), taking into consideration the prevailing minimum wage and rental rates per region.  

The financial aid will continue until the ISFs have been resettled to permanent housing projects constructed by the government.  

To be eligible for the rental subsidy, the ISF should not move or relocate back to the area where they were originally residing, unless permitted by the proper government authorities; and they should pay to the lessor the portion of the rental amount not covered by the subsidy. 

Based on the latest available data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), about 4.5 million Filipinos are homeless, of which three million are found in Metro Manila.  

Among the main causes of homelessness are poverty, domestic violence, human trafficking and natural disasters.  

“Given the loss of livelihood of many Filipinos resulting from the economic shock of the recent pandemic and the devastation wrought by strong typhoons that have rendered hundreds of thousands homeless, these numbers reported by the PSA are expected  to rise,” Duterte said.  

“Government housing projects take time to build. We cannot just neglect the plight of our homeless countrymen and allow them to continue to suffer while they wait to be resettled,” he added. 

The measure states that the rental subsidy shall not exceed the actual rent, provided that such subsidy may be reviewed or revised by the DHSUD and NEDA at any time but not more than once every two years to conform to prevailing economic conditions.


Source: Manila Bulletin (