Senators Francis Tolentino (left) and Christopher Lawrence Go (right) (File photo)

MANILA – Senators Francis Tolentino and Christopher Lawrence Go believe that every Filipino should be given access to decent housing, making rental housing subsidy bills they both filed their top priority in the 19th Congress.

Tolentino said on Thursday that the bill he filed will help the government housing program in keeping up with the population growth.

"Ito yung isa sa mga nakikita kong solusyon kasi naghahabol tayo sa mga pabahay na parang ang hirap habulin. Gumagalaw lagi yung finish line. Kahit anong gawin, lumolobo yung populasyon natin. Lumalaki yung pangangailangan. Nagkakaroon ng mga bagong pamilya. Maraming nagpupuntahan lalo na sa Metro Manila (This is one of the solutions I see because we are chasing housing targets that are hard to chase. The finish line is always moving. Whatever we do, our population is growing. The needs are getting bigger. There number of new families is increasing constantly. Many are moving especially in Metro Manila)," Tolentino said on Net25's Sa Ganang Mamamayan.

He suggested that instead of the government giving time-consuming and more expensive housing, a subsidy for the renters, especially informal settlers from hazardous areas, will be better.

"Para naman mapunta sila sa isang mas safe na lugar at magbibigay ng subsidiya ang pamahalaan habang hindi pa nakakalipat sa isang permanenteng bahay (So they can go to a safer place and the government will give them subsidy while they have not moved in a permanent house yet)," Tolentino said.

Most of the beneficiaries, he said, will be the workers who have the capacity to pay a part of the house rental fee that the government subsidy cannot cover.

On the other hand, Go's bill aims to establish a government housing and social protection program that will provide disaster victims better and more affordable access to the formal housing market through the provision of rental subsidies.

Go said eligible beneficiaries will receive a rental subsidy as determined by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), taking into consideration the prevailing rental rates in their respective locality, economic standing, and potential capacity of the family.

The rental subsidy, he added, will be granted to eligible beneficiaries for a maximum of five years or upon their availing or acquisition of permanent housing, whichever comes first.

Calling for his colleagues to support the measure, Go said every Filipino deserves to have a decent home.

“Nakita po natin sa datos na milyun-milyong Pilipino ang walang natutulugan tuwing gabi. Mga kapwa kong senador, lakasan pa po natin ang ating suporta upang maiahon natin ang ating mga kapwa Pilipino mula sa mga krisis na ating kinakaharap (We saw in a data that millions of Filipinos have nowhere to sleep at night. To my fellow senators, let us strengthen our support to help our fellow Filipinos from the crisis that we are facing),” Go said in a statement.

Like Tolentino's, Go's bill also seeks to address the plight of families displaced by crises and calamities, whether natural or man-made, as well as families who cannot afford to build their own homes.

Apart from the DHSUD, the bill will task the National Housing Authority to certify the eligibility of the beneficiaries under the program and coordinate with other concerned agencies for the identification of areas housing persons who need immediate resettlement. (PNA)