Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Manila promises to re-house railway squatters

More than 10,000 squatters will be relocated from communities along Manila's railway lines, according to this dispatch from the Manila Standard. The residents will have to pay 200 pesos a month for the new homes (about $4.) Monthly carrying costs will more than triple of the course of a 30-year mortgage. Let's hope the government acts honorably here and follows through on this commitment.

3 comments:

Chessbuff said...

Having grown up next to a railroad and the squatters who live along it, I am grateful that no fire ever occurred in the squatters' area for it would have been impossible for firefighters---if any would come--to fight the fire except at the crossing area. one of the squatters actually built his house using the backside of our house. In effect, we shared a wall with this fellow when the area between our house and the railroad should be free of any structuress for obvious safety reasons. however, it is hard to blame the poor as they try to make ado with whatever they can get. i hope that the squatters will be happy in their new area and maybe it's a step towards legitimate home ownership. i dont know if the govt is doing a good job since I no longer live there and I have not stayed abreast with local developments.

rn said...

You're right, chessbuff. It is not a great situation when squatters live almost on top of train tracks. And the risk of fire in shantytowns is very real. And, of course, it is not possible to blame the poor for the way they are forced to live.

I'm curious: how did your family get along with the family that had used the back side of your house as a support? And did you have any connections with any of the kids your age who lived in the railway squatter area?

Thanks for your comment.

Chessbuff said...

We didnt have much problems with the fellow in the back except the time when he cemented shut a water drain from our back patio into his area. Remember, this fellow and his house were not suppose to be there. the drain was meant to drain rainwater from our patio. After much heated debate, he re-routed the drain and kept it open. As for the people, some of my playmates were from the tracks. They can around the corner to play with us, and sometimes I went into the squatters area to visit them. Although we didn't have our noses in the air, the term " taga-riles " was used to distinguish them from us. I considered them the less fortunate but I didnt rub it in. It is very unfortunate that some people are born into poverty and a good percentage of them remain in it. Several of them, I later learned, took up musical instruments, formed a band, and left the country to become the proverbial Filipino band that entertain in many of Asia's hotels. You cant keep Filipinos down for long before they overcome a problem---the virtual foot on the neck. I wish the govt officals could do more for the people and the people should demand results from them.