Press Release
June 17, 2021

Bong Go pushes for Rental Housing Subsidy Act to help poor and displaced families get proper housing and alleviate homelessness in the country

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go seeks to address homelessness in the country through the passage of his proposed measure, Senate Bill No. 1227, or the Rental Housing Subsidy Program Act of 2019.

"Hangarin ko na wala nang squatter sa sariling bayan. Gusto kong magkaroon ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng isang maayos at disenteng bahay," said Go who is the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing.

The Senator emphasized that the continuing onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation of Filipinos living in congested urban centers, particularly in Metro Manila and other big cities, and has brought not only health problems but also adverse economic effects which resulted to poor quality of life.

"This dilemma resulted in a host of other issues, such as poverty, inequality, hunger and malnutrition, as well as lack of sustainable livelihoods, among others," the Senator pointed out.

"Sa pag-iikot ko at pagbibigay tulong sa mga kababayan nating nasunugan, I have witnessed, first-hand, the worsening situation of the lives of our fellow Filipinos, especially those who have no permanent place to call home," he added.

Go lamented that many homeless families are either living in shelters, temporary housing or, worse, in the streets, adding that Filipinos deserve decent homes where they can feel safe and secure.

"Ngayon na patuloy ang paglaban natin sa pandemic, mas lumala pa ang kalagayan nila. Madalas, mas takot pa ang ating mga kababayan na mawalan ng matitirahan kaysa magkaroon ng COVID-19," he said.

"Hindi po ito tama. Every Filipino family deserves a decent home and not one at the expense of their health and safety," Go added.

The need to address housing woes in the country, said Go, prompted him to file SBN 1227. "Now, more than ever, we need to provide homes for displaced families and help them sustain livelihoods by offering various options during the interim process of construction and relocation," he said.

Senate Bill No. 1227 or the Rental Housing Subsidy Program Act of 2019 aims to establish a housing and social protection program with the end view of enabling Informal Settler Beneficiaries to lead decent lives by supporting them in accessing the formal housing market by offering a rental subsidy.

This shall also be made an option to address the temporary relocation of displaced families due to natural and man-made disasters. Amid the ongoing pandemic, Go's team continues to aid communities in crisis situations particularly in instances where homes are lost due to fires and calamities.

"Isa sa mga pagsubok na nakikita ko sa aking pag-iikot ang kakulangan ng maayos na tirahan na nagreresulta sa mas malalang mga problema ngayon tulad ng sunog, mabilis na pagkalat ng sakit, at kakulangan ng critical services," he lamented further.

"Pero huwag kayo mag-alala dahil kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas, basta nasunugan, nabahaan o tinamaan kayo ng lindol, pupuntahan ko kayo para magbigay ng tulong, pakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati," reassured Go.

Based on this proposed measure, the amount of the subsidy will be determined by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development. It will be a percentage of the total amount of rentals as determined by the rental or lease contract between the eligible beneficiary and the lessor.

For eligible beneficiaries below the poverty threshold as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the subsidy will be at least 50 percent of the total amount of rentals.

The Senator also assured that he and President Rodrigo Duterte will fight for the right of all Filipinos to have decent homes.

"Uulitin ko po: Hangga't andito po ako susubukan kong magkaroon ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng isang maayos at disenteng tirahan," assured Go.

"Pangako po ito naming dalawa ng Pangulong Duterte, bigyan ng mas maginhawang buhay ang bawat Pilipino, lalong lalo na po ang mga mahihirap," he added.

He also commended the Committee of Urban Planning, Housing, and Resettlement, chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino, for tackling vital measures to alleviate the burden of poverty-stricken and homeless Filipinos amidst the pandemic during a committee hearing on June 16.

Aside from the Rental Subsidy Act, also tackled during the hearing were SBNs 2248, 2140, and 2098 which propose to strengthen the National Housing Authority.

During the start of the 18th Congress, Go also filed SBN 203, entitled "National Housing Development, Production and Financing Act of 2019", which aims to institutionalize a program to address the housing needs of Filipinos by generating and mobilizing sustainable funds for housing, and encouraging public and private sector participation in the said program.

Earlier, he called for renewed support for the measure, acknowledging that many Filipinos want to relocate back to their home provinces after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nananawagan po ako sa mga kapwa kong mambabatas na suportahan ang NHDPF Act. Makakatulong din ito sa ating mga kababayan na gustong umuwi sa kanilang mga probinsya pagkatapos ng COVID-19 pandemic," Go said.

Go is also the main proponent of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program (BP2) which is a long-term plan of the government to decongest urban areas, boost countryside development, and improve quality of life in all regions.

BP2 roll-outs are presently temporarily suspended due to the pandemic and shall resume once conditions are deemed safe. However, preparations by local government units and partner agencies are underway.

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