Solon proposes PPP on gov't resettlement program

October 19, 2011 10:03 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 19 — A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday raised the need to review the government's resettlement policies to ensure that it won't be wasting money on low cost housing projects that end up being deserted, or worse, sold to squatting syndicates, because they offer no employment opportunities for the beneficiaries.

The recommendation of Ang Kasangga party-list Rep. Teodorico Haresco came following the announcement of Malacanang that some P10 billion out of the P72 billion stimulus fund would go to the government resettlement projects.

He lauded the move of President Benigno Aquino III as the party-list lawmaker stressed the stimulus fund would greatly help in mitigating the effects of the global financial slowdown.

Haresco, however, said to ensure the success of the government's resettlement program for informal settlers especially in Metro Manila and other urban centers, the government should consider working with the private sector, particularly those running garment factories and other production plants that require little training for its workers, and work supply or employment agreement that would provide resettlement beneficiaries ready livelihood while boosting the manufacturing sector.

"There is a huge opportunity if we turn our resettlement program into employment generation project as well. We will not just solve our squatting problem but we will also decongest our urban centers, provide employment to many of our informal settlers, many of whom might even be involved in criminal activities, provide our factories cheaper labor and dramatically improve our economy," he said.

"This is Public-Private Partnership (PPP) at its best. The private sector increases their production while they provide our people with decent and accessible livelihood," he added.

Haresco said by providing employment and the basis amenities of a community including easy access to schools, resettlement communities would become self-sustaining and can spur economic activities in their respective communities.

He noted that self-sustaining communities are a virtual magnets to investments and this has been proven in many middle-class and upscale villages and subdivisions where malls and other commercial complexes immediately sprout nearby.

"By providing employment for our relocated informal settlers, we are also opening investment opportunities for neighboring communities," he said.

Haresco said as a government policy, resettlement beneficiaries should be organized into cooperatives, which in turn can enter into a partnership with the manufacturing and industrial sectors for some sort of a supply agreement.

He said apart from housing units, mini-factories that are equipped and designed by the government's private sector partnership, should be also established to provide immediate livelihood for the resettled informal settlers.

Haresco said for easier access for a possible private partner, the government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), should immediately establish a database of companies that are willing to enter into this form of PPP.

In return, the government can extend a wide array of tax and investment incentives for companies who agree to enter into a supply or employment agreement with resettlement communities. (PNA)

LDV/LGI/utb

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