Focus on generating jobs instead of relocating poor families, bishop says

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Demolished houses in San Juan City. Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan
Demolished houses in San Juan City. Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan

MANILA, 15Aug2013 — While recognizing the relocation efforts done by the national government to thousands of informal settlers in the metro, a Catholic bishop urged government leaders to focus more on generating quality jobs that could ensure and sustain the financial stability of the urban poor for a longer period of time.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the problem of urban migration lies with the lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, noting that if relocated families will not be able to secure jobs in their new homes, they will still be forced to go back to the metro in search for better opportunities.

“Rural families migrate to Manila to find quality jobs that could sustain their day-to-day living. Their problem lies not with housing but with employment opportunities to fend for themselves,” he said in the vernacular.

“If the relocated families will not be able to find new jobs in areas where they are relocated, they will be forced to leave and go back to establishing shanties in the metro,” he added.

The government has recently started the relocation of informal settler families dwelling in the metro to nearby provinces. This effort is part of the government’s P351 billion program that aims to address flooding in the country primarily caused by the squatter colonies that has clogged Metro Manila’s major waterways.

The prelate noted that once people have acquired decent jobs, their desire for decent housing will automatically follow.

“The government should have known better by providing more jobs for the urban poor because all their efforts would just end up in vain if relocated families would still fail to secure jobs in their new homes,” he said.

No to privatization

Pabillo also criticized emerging propositions to privatize hospitals and universities, noting that this move will create a big impact to families who depend on subsidies provided by the government.

“We have already seen the effects of privatized water and electricity. We could expect the same thing to happen to our universities and hospitals if we will let these calls for privatization to happen,” he said.

Among the basic effects of privatization is the skyrocketing rate of basic services.

“We have to leave this system of privatization,” the prelate said, adding that government officials must strive to address the country’s vital issues to obtain inclusive growth across all sectors of the society. [Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCPNews]

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