Senate bill to give free houses but not lots 

FLICKR/JAYO SANTIAGO

A SENATOR has filed a bill that seeks to give homeless Filipinos free housing, as long as the government keeps ownership of the land. 

Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid’s Senate Bill 1232 or the Free Housing Through Usufruct bill seeks to solve the problem of Filipinos who end up selling house and lots given to them by the state. 

“We have had many government housing programs but these usually operate under the principle of selling housing to beneficiaries at an affordable price that they will pay over time,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“However, in many cases, the beneficiaries sell the units awarded to them for income instead of using them for their families,” he said. “This is contrary to the purpose of our housing programs that want to provide a home to every Filipino family.” 

Mr. Lapid noted that since the early 1990s, various housing finance programs have offered long-term and low-interest rate loans to poor Filipinos, but failed due to mortgage defaults and poor collection efforts. 

“Even with the existence of low-cost housing, which should be inexpensive, the same cannot still be afforded by the intended beneficiaries,” he added. 

Under the bill, only Filipinos with no property will be covered by the program. Local governments and other agencies may extend the benefit to their workers. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan