Hope, for families without land, is their most valued property. And many are these hopeful families in the country. The graph and table, drawn from NSO APIS 2008, shows the distribution of these families according to tenure status on the houses and lots they occupy.
Countrywide, majority of families own their houses and rent the lots for free with the owners’ consent, and these are concentrated mostly in the Visayas and Mindanao. NSO has not opened the definition of this classification – “renting the lot free” with owner’s consent – in its site but I’m speculating that majority of these are the landless farmers. Conversely, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, and CAR have low concentration of this classification as this I can attest from work and personal experience majority of farmers own their farms and lots.
In the urban and urbanizing areas specifically NCR, CALABARZON, and CAR, there are many who rent both their houses and lots. NCR has the highest concentration of these families. The national trend supports the fact that housing is an attendant issue in urbanization.
Also, there is a considerable percentage of families throughout the country who have put up their own houses on lots whose owners have not given them consent to do so (squatters, in other words?). Again, NCR has the highest concentration of these families.
In defining strategies for closing the gap or shortfall in housing and firming up property rights, it is best that analysis is done at the local level, data further disaggregated, and context of the gap at that level researched. Blanket policies don’t work as these in the end do nothing to change the status quo at the local level. Local level disaggregation and context specific analysis is needed in re-ordering local institutions (rules of the game and who benefits from the game) although this is easier said than done but the important thing for a start is the strategy being pursued, because it’s backed by good synthesis, is tailor-fitted to the situation being addressed.