SOCIAL ISSUE: Informal Settlements in Davao City
Urban housing is a worldwide need, especially urgent in rapidly growing cities of the developing world, evident in unplanned and informal communities. These are examples of the informal sector housing – often described as squatter settlements or “slums” – that represent latent assets and the basis of urban solutions (Bhatt, 2004).
In Davao City, the increasing number of informal settlers can be attributed to the rapid urbanization in the city. As a result of the rapid and extraordinary growth, the shelter problems of the poor have increased in scale and in severity.
The proliferation of illegal squatting activities for the past years is quite alarming. At present, several property owners have sought the assistance of the City Government in clearing out the illegal settlers that have occupied their properties.
There is a downside to the flood of investment pouring into Davao City: a tsunami of informal settlers putting up hovels in riverbanks, coastal areas, roadsides in highways and any available spaces that are considered danger zones.
Figure 1: Informal Settlements
As Davao City progresses, more people from outside particularly the poor are coming in to stake their lot and future on better opportunities in the city. Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the informal settlers come from neighboring provinces and regions either to escape violence or migrate to the city for economic opportunities (Balanza, 2012).
Figure 2: Settlers along the banks of Davao River
Transmigration is a universal economic thing: people go to places where they could have a peaceful and better future. Social workers say many of newly-arrived informal settlers here come from regions wracked by violence or small vendors from other provinces temporarily pitching shanties anywhere as they find their place under the sun in this city of 1.4 million dubbed as...