The government recently bared its stupid plan to provide an P18,000 rental subsidy for each squatter household that needs to be relocated.
Here’s a report from ABS-CBN News:
Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the amount will be distributed to the families on a quarterly basis.
He said the staggered distribution of the subsidy will enable government to monitor the families and make sure they do not return to danger areas.
Singson said a lumpsum payment may prompt the family to spend the money for their other needs instead of rent. About P20,000 families are expected to receive the rental subsidy.
According to government estimates, the program will involve– or benefit– a total of 19,440 families living along the following identified areas: San Juan River, Tullahan River, Manggahan floodway, Maricaban creek, Pasig River, and Esteros Tripa de Gallina, Sunog Apog, and Maypajo.
My computer calculator tells me our uber-generous government needs to give away a total of P169,920,000 to nearly 20,000 squatter families in Metro Manila. That’s a huge amount of money.
Now, what’s the government’s exit strategy to make sure their hilarious policy will not encourage dependency or palamunin behavior?
Well, according to Department of Public Works and Highways (the agency involved in this project) Secretary Singson, the dole-out will be given in an installment basis to make sure the beneficiaries will comply with government-mandated conditions.
“It will not be given in one lump sum. Baka kung saan dalhin. That will be given in quarterly amounts just to make sure they are no longer there and money will be spent well,” he said.
Looks feasible. But how will their exit strategy address fly-by-night squatters, including professional squatters, who might settle on the designated areas or other strategic areas?
The title of the satire article read: “Squatters in Metro Manila Quadrupled Overnight After Learning About Govt’s P18K Rental Subsidy Plan”.
Here’s an excerpt:
Malacañang was surprised to find out today that illegal settlers up for relocation, who they estimated the other day to be around 20,000 families, has ballooned to around 79,185 families as of this morning.
This after the government announced a plan to provide an P18,000 rental subsidy for every family of informal settler that needs to be relocated.
“We were shocked to see relatives of existing families that came all the way from far-flung provinces already living in the area this morning,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. “They weren’t there the other day!”
He added that new families has already constructed two-story shanties on top of their relative’s shanties along one of the major estuaries.
It also shows a situation wherein new squatters sprout like mushrooms to take advantage of the government’s generous dole-out.
“Parang mga kabute silang nagsulputan (They’re like mushrooms that sprout anywhere)!” said a nearby onlooker.
One of the new squatters was apparently told by her third cousin about the government’s plan.
“May libreng pabahay, pangkabuhayan at pera daw na ipamimigay (There’s apparently free housing, livelihood and money being given away),” said Doris.
“Kulang nalang living room at kitchen showcase, kumpleto na sana (It only needs a living room and kitchen showcase and we’re all set)!”
“Yes, may pambili na ako ng pangalawang iPad!” said another.
“Samsung Galaxy Tab for me!” chimed his brother.
Kudos to the blogger.
The hilarious yet tragic scenario shown in that satire article is not that far-fetched considering the acquired habit of our politicians to tolerate, or even encourage, squatting for political gains. Consider this case of village officials who were warned and about to be charged with a crime for tolerating or even encouraging squatting.
Many corrupt Filipino politicians know very well the value of squatter votes. That’s why squatter areas in the metropolis should be regarded as 21st century plantations controlled and run by modern-day serfs– politicians.
Apart from rewarding squatters with taxpayers’ money, the government also plans to subsidize around 28 million Filipinos via the Conditional Transfer Program (CTC).
According to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the program will continue to expand to cover around 4.6 million families or some 28 million people by 2015, or before President Aquino’s term expires.
Here’s a report from Inquirer.net:
For this year, the administration has set aside P44 billion from the national budget for the CCT program. The amount covers 3.9 million poor families identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Under the program, households receive monthly cash subsidies for five years in exchange for their commitment to send children to public schools, and to have mothers and her kids regularly visit health centers.
The maximum monthly subsidy per family is P1,200—P300 per child for up to three children and another P300 for the mother.
An immediate objective of the program is to increase the school participation rate among children of poor households. The long-term objective is to increase employment opportunities for them so they can eventually lift their families out of poverty.
But where will our uber-generous government get the money to fulfill its universal CCT promises? Well, apart from using taxation to finance its so-called pro-poor policies, the government also expects help from international creditors like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The Inquirer report adds:
Multilateral institutions, led by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, support the CCT. Citing experiences in some developing countries, such as those in Latin America, multilateral institutions said the CCT was effective in significantly reducing poverty incidence.
Both the World Bank and ADB are known as global loan sharks that make huge profits by promoting government uber-spending and unsustainable welfare policies. It’s definitely in their corporate interest to support high-spending welfare programs like the CCT.
Indeed, while our government that is obsessed with high approval and popularity ratings adopts unsustainable welfare programs that encourage dependency and bad behavior, the global loan sharks (e.g., the World Bank and IMF) also promote over-spending to make profits.