Cesar Villanueva
Cours Metis FUNDP, 29/10/07
Housing - Squatting and villages :
the competing answers to housing
problems in the Philippines
Philippines =
-is an archipelago situated off the southeastern coast
of the Asia Mainland
-1,707 islands
-91 million people (estimate for 2007)
-110 ethnolinguistic groups (languages)
-85% Christian
-Presidential, unitary form of government
-Member of Association of SE Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Philippine Population
Population: 83.7 million (2006) 91,077,287 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 34.5% (male 16,043,257/female 15,415,334)
15-64 years: 61.3% (male 27,849,584/female 28,008,293)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 1,631,866/female 2,128,953) (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.36% annually (highest in Asia) the country’s population is
projected to reach 118.4M in 2025 and 147.3M in 2050.
Birth rate: 24.48 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.041 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.994 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.767 male(s)/female
total population: 0.999 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 40% (2001 est.)
Urban Poverty (Geographical Distribution)
Geographical distribution of urban poverty reflects stark inequities in spatial and
economic development. In 2000 9.7% of families in Metro Manila lived in
poverty as compared with 39.5% and 63.9% of urban populations in Central
Mindanao and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, respectively (NSO).
Poverty in the Philippine urban areas is evolving into a problem as the unabated
growth in population and the influx of rural dwellers to urban areas put pressure
on the ability of cities to accommodate their social and economic needs.
Squatting Trends in the Philippines
Population Growth and Urbanization
• The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country, with a
population of over 85 million as of 2005.
The Philippines has one of the highest population growth rates in the
world at an average of 2.36% observed in the last eight years.
Of the total population of 76 million (2003), 40 million (52%) live in
urban areas. By 2010, urban population is projected to increase to 56
million (60%).
Metro Manila (Capital) - is now the 17th among the world's population
urban agglomerations and will rise to the 15th by 2015. (Philippine Population
at least one third of the Philippines' population concentrated in its four towns and 13
Where 2/3 of the total population reside and more than 50% of its 11 million population
live in slums or depressed areas.
Causes of Squatting
“The urban poor live mostly in high-risk areas, such as along riverbanks or highly sensitive coastal areas,
canals, railroad tracks, utility corridors and watersheds, which are considered high-risk areas. The TWG
data show that in 1999 35 percent of the urban population lived in areas where access to services is either
poor or non-existent.”
Together with a rapidly burgeoning population are 1) growing urbanization, 2) increasing
urban poverty and 3) worsening economic inequity.
1) Rapid Urbanization
Rural population continues to migrate to urban areas, primarily to search for better economic
One-third of the population can be found in 14 major cities (UNFPA, 1999), which gives
the Philippines the highest level and rate of urbanization in Southeast Asia (POPCOM, 2000a).
2) Increasing Urban Poverty
The poor suffer the most from this deterioration in the quality of life in urban areas.
Due to the limited choices available to them, the urban poor are forced to locate
themselves either at the fringes, where access, employment, and livelihood
opportunities are limited, or at the urban core where they suffer from
overcrowding, lack of services, and lack of suitable housing.
“The unabated growth in urban population can exert environmental, economic, and political pressures on urban
systems, and the institutions that are responsible for them. Social services and air and water quality in most urban
areas are already below the desired levels. Provision of education, health, livelihood, housing, transportation, and
other social and economic infrastructure requirements of the 56 million people forecast to live in urban areas by 2010
will become difficult.”
3) Inequity in social and economic development
unequal access to economic opportunities, global markets and market
disparities in the provision of infrastructure
inequalities in income.
General Housing Problems
The National Shelter Program estimates the backlog of housing need in urban areas at 2.5
million in 2004, of which 44% of the need will be in the NCR. Other data that include slum
housing in the backlog, estimates the need at 4.5 million.
The problem of housing is more a problem of supply than affordability. More than onethird of the urban population live in slum areas and half of the 1.4 million urban poor
households reside in Metro Manila. Quite often, access to services in these settlements is
Between 1990 and 1995, resettlement programs became widespread. While the magnitude of
resettlement programs rose dramatically from 1,972 in 1990 to 12,369 in 1995, the number
of slum upgrading, sites and services, and housing construction programs by the National
Housing Authority (NHA) fell precipitously in the same period.
Challenges in the Housing Sector
Need for an enabling environment with clear and supportive
regulatory frameworks and equitable legal systems for
security of tenure
Land conversion takes time and costs a lot of money; the
government can exempt socialized housing beneficiaries
from paying the conversion fee
Many LGUs do not have an approved Comprehensive Land
Use Plans thus, resulting in the absence of areas identified
for socialized housing
Lack of understanding among socialized housing beneficiaries, NGO
originators and government officials of the social development goals and
procedures mandated by the 1992 Urban Development and Housing Act
Need for functional and efficient systems and structure
Creation of Local Housing Board (LHB)
- At present, the Urban Poor Affairs Office caters to the needs of the POs but they have many other
concerns apart from housing. The creation of a Local Housing Board will help the POs process
their documents.
Streamlined Zoning Requirements
Additional requirements from the zoning board should be kept at a minimum because
many urban poor groups have difficulty completing the processing of their documents. Any
additional requirements must always be assessed vis-à-vis their applicability and practicality.
Need to generate adequate resources in implementing Secure Tenure programs
The guidelines for processing should be clear and the government should make it easier
for the POs to process documents. This serves as an incentive for POs to organize since they get
discouraged to proceed with their applications when processing takes long.
While CMP appears to be the most affordable option for the poor sector, the centralized
processing of documents (e.g. Purchase Commitment Line and Letter of Guarantee) limited
funding, complicated procedures, lack of appreciation among government regulatory agencies
and petty corruption at different levels of the bureaucracy restrain the program in achieving a
wider impact.
H) Proper Resource Allocation and Complementation
– Resources are always considered to be limited and thus, identifying the
potential universe and magnitude of resources that can be tapped from the
national government, local governments, private sector and donor
community for urban development needs should be seriously looked into. The
national budget has been criticized for its lack of urban development
considerations in determining its priorities and distribution of funds. Hence,
synchronizing and complementing resource infusions to urban development
concerns should be done. Interim financing for CMP projects
– a revolving fund that will allow POs to immediately close the sale of an
available property.
I) Need to develop capacities of NGAs, LGUs, NGOs, and POs for effective
delivery of housing services
Provision of land development and basic services in CMP communities.
In view of the low capacity of housing associations to follow up or process
their documents, there is a need for a technical support from housing and
related agencies
The low financial capacity of NGOs, who are usually the originators in CMP,
limits their ability to serve the POs. CMP processing can be made to adjust to
such concerns.
Lack of technical assistance and capability among the POs in tackling the
issues on settlements.
Sources / References
Philippines : Country Report (Philippine Commission on Population)
Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference
11-17 December 2002, Bangkok, Thailand
Peoples Daily online
CIA World Factbook
Adopted from UNFPA Country Assessment, 1999 p. 24.
Note: The 1995 estimates are based on a 1990 projection on urban population by Eduardo T. Gonzalez, et al. "Population and
Urbanization: Manageing the Urbanization Process under a Decentralized Framework," Settlements, Growth Zones and
Urbanization (Manila, December 1998).
Source: Census of Population and Housing 1960-1995.