THERE are around 40,000 families of illegal settlers in Davao among the country's 800,000 urban poor families who are considered homeless, the National Urban Poor Sectoral Council (NUPSC) said Monday.

"In the whole country, 800,000 ang (socialized housing) backlog natin but there are many who were able to have legitimate homes. But considering 800,000 is so high means the government should look into this," NUPSC member Domingo Andolana said during Monday’s Kapihan sa SM media forum.

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Andolana said NUPSC is raising suggestions for the government to look into "vertical housing for urban poor."

"We are looking into the possibility of high-rise apartment style buildings that the government will make available at affordable prices to the urban poor. Especially in highly-urbanized areas where space is getting scarce this should be a welcomed idea," Andolana said in vernacular.

As for the local government, Andolana said the suggestion should be considered as the city continues to grow.

Andolana gave a scenario for the suggestion to work out for the city.

"In the city, [there have] been a lot of high-end subdivisions cropping up so there's the possibility of space being limited in the urban area. Now here's the socialized housing law wherein the developers of the subdivisions should allot 20 percent of their area for socialized housing, houses that can be afforded by the urban poor," he explained.

"What some developers do is instead of giving 20 percent of their area to the government, they pay to the government that same amount of that land supposed to be donated," Andolana said.

"Considering that area of the subdivision, supposedly to be donated, is expensive it could be that the city could buy a cheaper area twice or three times the size of the expensive subdivision area. That means more could benefit for the socialized housing," Andolana said in vernacular.

Andolana further said considering the city's population growth, the local government early as now should look into the possibility of building houses vertically rather horizontally.

"It should be considered early as now that we should not abuse that space for socialized housing. Building vertically would also mean more recipients kay mas marami man ang makaka-occupy," Andolana said.

Among the problems that have arisen from illegal settlers are the so-called dead roads or roads that have not been used and have since been settled in.

"There are around 23 or 26 dead roads that have to be opened. Dead roads that were unused for that purpose and were occupied. They will have to open this and that means it would have to be evacuated," Andolana said in vernacular.

Andolana said they have no objection to clearing up of illegal communities for as long as the affected residents are relocated as provided for by law. The relocation sites should also abide by what the law says, like there should be roads and source of livelihood. (JCZ)