MANILA -- Quezon City (QC) Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte has proposed a ‘house for work’ program to resolve the increase in number of informal settler families (ISFs) in the city.

In an interview, Belmonte said beneficiaries of the local government’s housing program could just work at the city hall as payment for the houses they would receive.

“In exchange for a house, they give work. Instead of giving them salaries, we give them (housing) units,” Belmonte said.

As most ISFs consider the housing units from the government to be expensive, Belmonte thought of a scheme where they can pay through service.

Belmonte likened it to the "food for work" program where local government employees are compensated with food rations instead of money.

“The father, for example, can work as gardener for eight hours a day in the park so they can pay through their labor. You see, there are many ways to address the housing issue,” Belmonte added.

Belmonte said ISFs with permanent jobs are the only ones who could afford the government’s low-cost housing projects.

This leaves the poorest of the ISFs who are non-PAGIBIG members unqualified for housing loans.

The QC local government records show there are around 190,000 ISFs in the city, but Belmonte believes there are more ISFs that have not been documented.

Belmonte said she would draft a housing code that could provide decent homes which the poorest ISFs could pay with their meager income.

“We are currently preparing a Housing Code because I think housing is one of the main problems of our city,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte also thought of building bamboo houses which are durable and affordable for ISFs.

She said the bamboo housing project was tackled in a conference by the Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation, Inc. to help the poor residents of Barangay Silangan, Quezon City. (PNA)