Solon pushes IS rental subsidy

HB 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.

DAVAO CITY — Davao City First Congressional District Representative Paolo Duterte is pushing to pass a measure which will grant rental subsidies to eligible informal settlers to help families living in hazardous areas or those rendered homeless by calamities to avail themselves of safe, decent shelter.

In a statement on Friday, the lawmaker stressed the urgent need for Congress to approve the measure especially with strong typhoons and other calamities continuing to displace tens of thousands of families.

“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 rental subsidy program as proposed by Duterte, Benguet Representative Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Edvic Yap in House Bill 455 also covers informal settler families who do not have legal claims to the lots or houses they occupy.

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

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.

“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,” Duterte said.

Under the measure, the rental subsidy will be determined by the DHSUD and the National Economic and Development Authority, 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,” said the lawmaker.

He recalled that the proposed Rental Housing Subsidy Program Act, which was among the priority bills of his father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, was already approved by the House during the previous Congress.

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.

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.

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