The city government of Zamboanga under the fresh three-year leadership of Mayor Beng Climaco is bent on addressing the housing backlog through the local shelter plan for the next five years.
Acting City Housing and Land Use Division Chief Rodrigo Pagotaisidro told the press briefing last Monday that Mayor Climaco already had initial talks with some shelter agencies, and a meeting was conducted last Friday among 60 representatives from the different housing and shelter-related agencies.
Pagotaisidro said the group will meet again in August to formulate the local shelter plan that will serve as the blueprint or guidelines of the city government in addressing the housing backlog which now stands at 19,000 and counting.
The five-year plan will identify areas in the city for relocation, community mortgage program, land tenural assistance program, and for joint venture agreement, which is a local government tie up with the national government housing projects. It will also cover areas for housing programs to be undertaken by non-government organizations.
Pagotaisidro further said the local shelter plan will have a provision for land banking, which the city chief executive herself identified as one of her priorities for the next three years of her administration. At present, he said the housing backlog stands at 19,000 families that are referred to as informal settlers within the seven-kilometer radius of the city, and the number is expected to increase once the airport is transferred to Mercedes-Talabaan-Zambood area, as there will be thousands of families that will be affected.-(Vic Larato)