Urban Poor commissioner assures informal settlers of homes before demolition

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) has assured the informal settlers that there will be no demolition without relocation, as promised earlier by the Duterte administration.

PCUP chairman Terry Ridon told reporters in Malacañang on Thursday that it has been the policy of the present administration to provide homes first for the informal settlers before demolishing their shacks in the metro.

“Under the leadership of the President, he has made it clear that there will be no demolitions without relocation,” said Ridon; a former Kabataan Party-list representative before being appointed as chair of the PCUP.

“Even if we speak about big-ticket infrastructure projects, I think part of the spending will most definitely be made towards relocation of many of the affected informal settler families,” the official added.

Ridon also blamed the Aquino administration for its apparent failure in the implementation of housing projects for the police officers and soldiers where  most of the units remain idle and unoccupied for years because of lack of basic services and necessities such as power and water.

Some of these units in Pandi, Bulacan were forcibly occupied by the Kadamay group members over the past months.

“We have to be frank with everybody about it. In fact, some form of accountability needs to be undertaken towards everyone that had been involved in building those houses,” said Ridon. “I would say it was a project that was meant to fail.”

He also urged the government to allocate at least P1-T every year to catch up with the housing backlog which is estimated at 5.6-M units.