Press Release
July 7, 2020

Bong Go reiterates need to address homelessness; pushes for the passage of his National Housing Development, Production and Financing bill

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go reiterated the need to address homelessness in the country as he pushed for the passage of his filed Senate Bill 203 and SB 1227 to lessen housing problems in the country by providing means for Filipinos to have a home of their own, especially displaced families affected by incidents such as fire and disasters.

"Marami po akong napupuntahang mga nasunugan, nawalan po sila ng tirahan. Kailangan natin silang tulungang makabangon muli through low-cost housing programs and development, including the construction of safe and permanent evacuation centers, and housing assistance for fire victims," Go said.

"Kaya ko po finile ang mga bills na ito dahil hangarin po natin na wala nang squatter sa ating sariling bayan. Gusto natin magkaroon ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng isang maayos at disenteng bahay," he added.

SB 203 or the National Housing Development, Production and Financing Act aims to significantly accelerate housing production and ensure sufficient reliable government funding and financing for socialized housing in the coming years.

Meanwhile, SB 1227 or the Rental Subsidy Program Act seeks to provide homes for displaced families and help them sustain their livelihoods by offering them various options during the interim process of construction and relocation.

"Importante po na magkaroon ng maayos na tirahan ang pamilyang Pilipino. Nakita naman po natin ang hirap ng buhay lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya. Kapag dikit-dikit ang bahay, hindi maayos ang sanitation, karamihan po informal settlers, mas madaling kumalat ang sakit," Go said as he emphasized how poor housing conditions in urban areas adversely affected efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Go also expressed his support for SB 65 filed by Senator Pia Cayetano which mandates cities and communities to transition to sustainable cities and communities especially during this health crisis. Go said that the country needs bold solutions that will address its problems especially those brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

Go recalled that it was primarily also because of the pandemic and high number of infection in highly congested Metro Manila that he proposed that the government implement a Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.

Last May 4, he filed to this effect his Senate Resolution No. 380; the same was adopted by the chamber on the same day. The program is now institutionalized through Executive Order 114, issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, with an inter-agency council purposely created to craft policies and implement various short-term and long-term programs.

BP2 Program is designed primarily to decongest Metro Manila and to accelerate economic development in the countryside. "The Balik Probinsya Program would ensure balanced regional development and equitable distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities to boost countryside development and promote inclusive growth," Go said.

"Nakasaad sa EO 114 na long-term at whole-of-nation approach ito so we can ensure that we are not just bringing them back in their communities but also providing better opportunities for them once communities are transformed into sustainable communities," he added.

Go said that one of the key pillars of the BP2 program is the implementation of a comprehensive national housing plan that can provide affordable but quality housing to Filipino families who wish to relocate back to their provinces.

"Kasama po ito sa pinaghahandaan ng gobyerno upang maimplementa ng maayos ang BP2. Importante na mabigyan ng maayos na tirahan ang mga lilipat at kasama dyan ang pagkakaroon ng mga employment, livelihood, and economic opportunities sa mga komunidad na lilipatan nila," Go explained.

BP2 Executive Director and National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. recently said that they decided to reschedule the subsequent rollouts of BP2 in order to give way to the implementation of Hatid Tulong initiatives.

"Pansamantalang suspended pa po ang implementasyon nito. This will also give more time for receiving LGUs to prepare their communities for the return of BP2 beneficiaries. We have enough time to polish, study and review the necessary guidelines and seek wisdom from other LGUs prior to fully implementing the BP2 program," Go said previously.

He also previously urged executive agencies mandated to implement the BP2 program to use this time to conduct a thorough review taking into consideration the health and safety measures that should be implemented.

"Kaya nga sabi ng Pangulo: let's give them hope. Kapag sila bumalik sa probinsya, makapagsisimula sila ng bagong buhay. Iba na po ang panahon ngayon. Paghandaan na natin ang 'new normal' at bigyan natin ng pag-asa ang ating mga kababayan ng mas maayos na kinabukasan pagkatapos ng krisis na ito," he ended.

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