Cesar Montano Unveils New Housing Approach for Poor

Apr. 30, 2007

Manila — Filipino laborers work so hard to keep body
and soul together. One of the basic needs they dream
of is a decent house for their family, said
Senatorial Candidate Cesar Montano, in his Labor Day
statement to media. He disclosed that one of his
legislative agenda is focused at encouraging
Filipinos, especially the poor and the homeless, to
avail of governments housing programs. He calls it
the Work-for-a-House policy aimed at getting people
to literally work for their houses.
While it is the responsibility of government to
provide people with that they need, it is also the
responsibility of the people to help the government in
its efforts. This policy will cater the interests of
both, he said. Montano aims to employ the poor, the
homeless and the informal settlers as laborers in
government housing programs to reduce the labor
expenses for such activities. When labor cost is
low, more raw materials will be available and more
houses will be built, he added. With this, food and
raw materials will be the major sources of expenses
since labor costs will be virtually zero.
Montano aims to work with the National Housing
Authority and relevant government and private
institutions if ever elected for office. He suggested
that control measures be created for (1) the
application of beneficiaries/workers, (2) the
quality and amount of raw materials used per house,
and (3) the terms of ownership, to avoid being cheated
in any of the three. He also suggested the possible
roles of each family. The men will construct the
houses. The women will cook the food and do many
other things in the site. The children will help
their parents. Everybody will work together, so we
will have a community even before the houses are
built, Montano added.
The policy is consistent with his slogan Power to
the people because it gives exactly that. Theft will
not be a problem since anyone who would attempt it
will end up facing the wrath of the people who owns
the project. This also helps reduce unemployment,
though in indirect and temporary ways. Lastly, this
policy erases the notion that Filipinos will get their
basic needs from government for free, since they now
have to work to get them.
What is the fruit of your labor? Some get money,
others get material things, but with this policy, poor
Filipinos will get their own houses, built by their
own hands. And maybe we can try this approach to
other basic needs of our country, Montano suggested.
This is consistent with my social justice platform, a
way of bridging the gap between the rich and the
poor, concluded Montano.
The said strategy is a modified version of a
Singaporean Policy where beneficiaries of housing
programs pay for the houses given to them in
incremental terms, only this time labor is used as
payment and not cash. The same approach was copied
and adopted by England, Singapores colonizers.

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