MANILA - The government will provide an P18,000 rental subsidy for each squatter family that needs to be relocated.
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.
"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.
Singson earlier said there is a need to clear the estuaries (esteros) and other waterways of informal settlers. The government has identified 8 major waterways that have to be cleared of residents before the year ends.
The Palace said a relocation program will be undertaken to move 19,440 families living along the San Juan River, Tullahan River, Manggahan floodway, Maricaban creek, Pasig River, and Esteros Tripa de Gallina, Sunog Apog, and Maypajo.
Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno described as "deceptive bait" the P18,000 rental subsidy to be offered to select informal settler families.
In a statement, KMU said that while urban poor families won't easily earn P18,000, the amount is too meager even for renting houses and won't cover additional expenses caused by being uprooted from the families' sources of livelihood.
KMU chairperson Elmer "Bong" Labog said in-city relocation should be constructed first before urban poor families are asked to leave their houses.
"Policies on the urban poor should primarily be about what's good for the urban poor, not what's cheap for the government. The government will never find a solution to the problems of the urban poor if it weighs options on the basis of what's cheap," Labog said.
"The government should think beyond giving money to the poor or shelling out money during typhoons. The urban poor are calling for decent jobs, decent housing, and affordable social services," he added.