AS IT STANDS | Roman Floresca
The first news about vertical housing came from Singapore and it was done by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. It’s said to be 80 percent successful. Now Singapore is one nation people all over the world look at as a model in housing, especially people who have no one to turn to.
The national government as well as local officials have been banging their heads over what to do with the thousands of families who came from all over the country in search of greener pastures and who are willing to live anywhere and take on any job just to be able to eke out a living.
It’s better to stick together in some kind of colony than to live alone and be subject to all the vagaries of man.
But all these things have changed. We heard one local government executive, Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, speak of the rise of two condominiums during his term of office – Tondominium and Binondominium.
He said he wanted to develop a long-term plan to build houses for the people of the two districts. And the people believed him because he has never said anything he wouldn’t do.
He said in Singapore they were very successful because the government built houses under the Home Development Board for them. Now the erstwhile homeless people of Singapore became good citizens of Singapore.
That is the model Mayor Domagoso is working on. Work on the two condominium buildings has started and will be finished before his term ends. Meanwhile, other similar projects have been lined up.
“Ang good news sa ating mga incoming and future projects, hindi na lamang mga squatter ang ating lilingunin. Priority sila definitely pero iniisip namin na itong pabahay na ito pwedeng maisama na rin yung mga working class, yung mga nangungupahan (The good news is, for our present and future projects we will cater not only to the squatters but also to the working class. They will be our priority, definitely, but we are thinking of including the working class, those who are renting), Domagoso said.
The good mayor said the city government will try to save money so they can invest in housing and eventually eliminate the informal settlements and provide families with housing.
From someone who used to rent a small apartment in Manuguit, Tondo, these words by Mayor Domagoso are dear to me. I hope they ring true for it. Only by then can we say that living in Metro Manila is not just a dream but a reality as well.