Manila–“Filipino laborers work so hard to keep body and soul together. One of the basic needs they dream of is a decent house for their family,” said Senatorial Candidate Cesar Montano, in his Labor Day statement to media. He disclosed that one of his legislative agenda is focused at encouraging Filipinos, especially the poor and the homeless, to avail of government’s housing programs. He calls it the ‘Work-for-a-House policy’ aimed at getting people to literally ‘work for their houses’.
“While it is the responsibility of government to provide people with that they need, it is also the responsibility of the people to help the government in its efforts. This policy will cater the interests of both,” he said. Montano aims to employ the poor, the homeless and the informal settlers as laborers in government housing programs to reduce the labor expenses for such activities. “When labor cost is low, more raw materials will be available and more houses will be built”, he added. With this, food and raw materials will be the major sources of expenses since labor costs will be virtually zero.
Montano aims to work with the National Housing Authority and relevant government and private institutions if ever elected for office. He suggested that control measures be created for (1) the application of ‘beneficiaries/workers’, (2) the quality and amount of raw materials used per house, and (3) the terms of ownership, to avoid being cheated in any of the three. He also suggested the possible roles of each family. “The men will construct the houses. The women will cook the food and do many other things in the site. The children will help their parents. Everybody will work together, so we will have a community even before the houses are built”, Montano added.
The policy is consistent with his slogan “Power to the people” because it gives exactly that. Theft will not be a problem since anyone who would attempt it will end up facing the wrath of the people who ‘owns the project’. This also helps reduce unemployment, though in indirect and temporary ways. Lastly, this policy erases the notion that Filipinos will get their basic needs from government for free, since they now have to work to get them.
“What is the fruit of your labor?” Some get money, others get material things, but with this policy, poor Filipinos will get their own houses, built by their own hands. And maybe we can try this approach to other basic needs of our country,” Montano suggested. “This is consistent with my social justice platform, a way of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor,” concluded Montano.
The said strategy is a modified version of a Singaporean Policy where beneficiaries of housing programs pay for the houses given to them in incremental terms, only this time labor is used as payment and not cash. The same approach was copied and adopted by England, Singapore’s colonizers.