Can BF really clear Metro Manila of squatters?
They have a plan, or so goes the claim of the Metro Manila Interagency Committee for Informal Settlers.* The committee, led by Bayani Fernando says their proposal, if implemented, will mean no squatters in Metro Manila by 2018.
Tall order. Very tall order.
If the MMDA can accomplish that, then they would have accomplished what every other megacity in the developing world has failed at. They will do better than Mexico City, than Sao Paulo, than Mumbai, than Lagos, than Istanbul. They will succeed where even the Cities Alliance has struggled since 1999. They will accomplish, what even Marcos with his full dictatorial powers could not do.
And that is to reverse very strong global social, economic and network forces.
Can they do it? I seriously doubt it. Only because if you pull back the lens and zoom out to the global scale, the odds are seriously against it.
There are currently 1 BILLION slum dwellers in the world. Which means every sixth person in the world lives in an informal settlement. That number is expected to swell to 2 billion by 2030. Then 3 billion by the middle of the century. That's 1 in 3.
In Metro Manila, the lowball estimate is that 40% of the population lives in informal settlements, so every fifth person you meet in the metro lives in a slum community. That's at least 4.5 million people -more than double the population of Quezon City.
BF, for political reasons, was being coy about the plan and refused to give details:
However, Fernando assured that the program will not be disadvantageous to the informal settlers because it includes the identification and development of relocation areas complete with schools, markets and more importantly, livelihood opportunities.Which sounds to me like they are planning a newtown/satellite city strategy which London and Paris and a host of other cities tried in the late 1800s (and which is apparently in vogue again).
The results were a mixed bag. The satellite towns didn't decongest the center cities. All it did was spread the development out even further.
I'm skeptical but I'm willing to withold judgement until they show more details of the plan.
Do you think it could work?
*Btw, I wonder if any informal settlers actually sat in that committee?
They should have these people on board. They've won awards.