Government to offer rural lots to Metro’s settlers

Published by rudy Date posted on May 9, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino bared Saturday night a government plan to offer informal settlers to go back to the provinces and develop at least two hectares of land and provide for the country’s agricultural needs rather than remain squatters in Metro Manila.

“We can give each of those 560,000 families two hectares of land provided they cultivate, develop and earn from the land they will live on,” the President said during an informal briefing with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia. “If they fail to stick to these conditions, the land will be taken from them.”

The 560,000 squatter families represent a third of more than 1.4 million illegal settler families in the whole country.

Aquino said a unique “opportunity” presented itself after an inventory led by agriculture and environment officials discovered that 1.5 million hectares of government land were readily available.

Aquino said the land might not be given for free to the informal settlers because they might not take care of it, so the two hectares could be lent or leased and the titles would remain with the government.

He said this would be better than giving the informal settlers a 45-square meter house because they would not be able to cultivate anything from it.

The President said it would be more expensive – at least P500 billion – for the government to build 9,300 to 9,400 medium-rise and high-rise buildings for the informal settlers. –Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)

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