MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang was surprised to find out today that illegal settlers up for relocation, who they estimated the other day to be around 20,000 families, has ballooned to around 79,185 families as of this morning.
This after the government announced a plan to provide an P18,000 rental subsidy for every family of informal settler that needs to be relocated.
“We were shocked to see relatives of existing families that came all the way from far-flung provinces already living in the area this morning,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. “They weren’t there the other day!”
He added that new families has already constructed two-story shanties on top of their relative’s shanties along one of the major estuaries.
“Parang mga kabute silang nagsulputan (They’re like mushrooms that sprout anywhere)!” said a nearby onlooker.
One of the new squatters was apparently told by her third cousin about the government’s plan.
“May libreng pabahay, pangkabuhayan at pera daw na ipamimigay (There’s apparently free housing, livelihood and money being given away),” said Doris.
“Kulang nalang living room at kitchen showcase, kumpleto na sana (It only needs a living room and kitchen showcase and we’re all set)!”
“Yes, may pambili na ako ng pangalawang iPad!” said another.
“Samsung Galaxy Tab for me!” chimed his brother.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Rogelio Singson reiterated their commitment to the plan, saying that the manta, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is the cornerstone of this undertaking with livelihood projects planned in the future.
“It’s just that these informal settlers wrongfully interprets the rental subsidy as the ‘fish’,” said Singson. “So now, it looks like the government is teaching them how to ‘fish’ for money.”
Singson also expects the informal settlers to come back to the estuaries and waterways after being relocated, hence the agency is planning to construct “faux danger zones” to entice them to relocate there instead.
“If they really don’t want to move in to permanent housing units, we are planning to build replicas of the esteros on empty government-owned lands that would not affect Metro Manila’s waterways and cause floods.”
According to Singson, a “faux river” would be constructed within the “faux esteros” to provide families with a place to defecate and throw their garbage in, as well as “faux electric and cable tv wires” hanging above their homes for residents to do their ‘thing‘.
“It’s like living in an estero without the societal headache that comes with it!”
“Moving is not an easy thing to do,” said Singson. “We are here to make sure that such process would be easy and a snap.”
Maybe a little too easy?