Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is set to award land certificates to another batch of 470 families that have been illegally occupying privately owned lots in the city.
Estrada assured that more Manileños, especially the poor families, will be given lots under the “Land for the Landless” program the city government has been implementing since 2013.
“It is my happiness to help you achieve your dream of having your own lands. You’ll no longer be called ‘squatters’ or informal settlers,” the mayor said.
Estrada also met with the beneficiaries during simple ceremonies in Barangay 215 Tondo last Tuesday.
First introduced by Estrada when he assumed office in 2013, the LLP is based on City Tenants and Security Committee Resolution No. 16-A. Through expropriation, the city government buys the private properties that are distributed to qualified applicants.
Under the project, the awardees are given 20 to 30 years to pay for the lots at affordable rates. Within two years from the awarding of the lot, the beneficiaries should occupy the area and vacate the premises not included in the award, according to Danny Isiderio, chief of the city’s Urban Settlements Office.
For 2017, Estrada set aside an initial fund of P50 million for the expropriation of five private estates where the 470 beneficiaries have long been occupying, Isiderio said.
One such property is the 28,789-square meter estate that covers the streets of Jose Abad Santos, Solis, and Antipolo in Barangays 215 and 216 in Tondo. The landowner, Vargas Realty, Inc., wants to sell it to the city government at P1.3 billion.
“We have distributed certificates that signify that the qualified beneficiaries are actual occupants of the land undergoing expropriation proceedings, and that they will be considered legal occupants as soon as the subject land is acquired by the city government,” Isiderio said.
Under the program, the lot awardees should have the capacity to pay and have no landholdings elsewhere. Within two years from the awarding of the lot, the beneficiaries should occupy the area and vacate the premises not included in the award.
The lot awarded cannot be sold or rented for 20 years without the written consent of the Office of the Mayor, and it should be used for residential purposes only.
Estrada awarded lots to 78 families in September 2013; 57 in April 2014, and another 40 in February 2015, followed by 29 more families on June the same year.
In March 2016, another 65 families were given lots under the LLP, 53 of whom were at Villafojas Estate located along Villafojas Street, also in Tondo.
Urban housing has been Estrada’s top priority since being elected in 2013. He has also relocated thousands of informal settler families away from the city’s esteros and creeks in cooperation with the National Housing Authority and other concerned government agencies.
He also inaugurated last year his P44.5-million housing village project in Sitio Dubai, Baseco Compound where 48 “poorest of the poor” families in the impoverished community have been given their own house and lots.