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Paper Presented
School of Urban and Regional Planning
University of the Philippines – Diliman
Arch. Janice Ma. Irene V. Echiverri
Like a fungus, growing in every part of a rotting wood. The rampant occurrence of informal settlers is
indeed uncontrollable. The government plans to relocate as many as possible of these settlers to be away
from flood-prone areas or any accident prone areas for that matter. The government and also some private
sectors are working hand in hand to help alleviate these informal settlers. The presence of these informal
settlers indeed has several effects on the country’s economic factor, social factor, and physical
development. The relativity of the people, the society and the built environment if analyzed further shall
address the issue of informal settlers.
But first, how do we define informal settlers, to some they were also called squatter settlements, it varies
from country to country. Is it considered as a residential area located in an urban setting. Commonly
informal settling is associated with families belonging to the very poor, or those with no access to lands,
that they could call their “own”. Thus, these families “squat” on lands where they can hold settlement, either
if the lands are private or public. The informal settlers in quiapo,manila came from provinces near the
manila area, this people opted to migrate in the city to look for jobs that shall give them income.
Unfortunately, this activity created the need for settlement, but due to the low income or no income, they
tend to settle in any available land, they could find, in this case beside bodies of water, such as the estero
de san definition, according to srinivas, “a squatter settlement therefore, can be defined as a
residential area which has developed without legal claims to the land and/or permission from the concerned
authorities to build; as a result of their illegal or semi-legal status, infrastructure and services are usually
inadequate.” This seems that any built area that doesn’t comply with the legalities pursued by the local
government, or those who have no legal claims upon the area where their homes were built were
considered as informal setttlers. The most visible on the site, selected by these settlers along the esteros of
quiapo were: first, the health hazards that may be implicated by the presence of the filthy esteros. Second,
the congestion that were experienced in the area, giving each family small places to dwell unto. Third, the
accessibility that these settlers have in terms of education, health care, government support is of hand
reach. The state of these settlers has indeed given an impact to the idea of creating a better built
environment, of attaining an equal social status, and the effects of the settlers & the community.
To further understand squatter settlements, some characteristics should be defined: the physical, the social
and the legal, on how these three characteristics interrelate. Certain physical characteristics for informal
settlements were distinct, due to the inherent “non-legal” status, it comprise of services & infrastructures
which are below levels. Such as the absence of water supply, sanitation and electricity, in the case of the
settlers in estero de san miguel, these were semi-achieved: water supply can be obtained by means of

in mobilization of the people into an organization. For internal attributes. this arrangement is on a sharing basis. there are concerns about religion. There is a clear line between informal settlers and those who are living in subdivisions. Electricity on the other hand is provided by means of illegal tapping to electric posts or some do install electric meters for monitoring of electricity use. in training and educating them. the esteros serve good purposes but are now considered as one big open canal. The issue regarding land ownership. the canals of amsterdam. in this matter. eventually they have created second or even third generation squatters. It is in enforcement that the government should be practicing. most of the families tend to repel this approach due to issues such as employment. The physical character of these settlements depends on local government units or private sectors. For external attributes include: land owner. water easements. the lack for provision on utilities and services are still unanswered. Considering the lack of enforcing action on reducing these informal settlers. in forming a link with the authorities. the participation of the community of squatters. The then majestic manila. There were many attributes that acts as forces to determine the quality and size of a settlement. There are a lot of factors that encompass the characteristics & impact of the informal settlers. This activity in urban areas such as manila. the informal settlers belong to the lower income group. settlement relocation. the rate of growth is very intense. tenure security. the city of manila tends to relocate the squatters in estero de san miguel in areas in bulacan and rizal. coming from either rural-urban areas. for some of these settlers did came from provinces near manila. There were approaches such settlement upgrade.storing water in plastic containers. The occurrence of these informal settlers brought misuse of the area rather destruction on the area. Most of the families coming from these settlers were migrants as i have mentioned earlier.the programs and policies created by the government can help alleviate the number of these informal settlers. Lands that were not productive or left vacant were the common areas that these informal settlers chose to dwell. either working as wage labourers or in informal sector enterprises. work place. settlement relocation was not favoured by the squatters for they will be transferred to rural areas. Settlement upgrade is a portion where the land owner allowed the squatter to continue in living in the land parcel provided infrastructure and utilities would be upgraded. for those under in the external attributes serves as barriers for the settlement to expand further in terms of land use. The city of manila. and other sites-and services programs. In the case of the informal settlers. has brought eye sore and abuse on the area. The succession of leaders in the government recognized the dilemma of informal settlers. they do not want to be away to the urban area. The physical presence of these settlements especially those belonging in estero de san miguel. is an inevitable phenomena. together with the national government pursue to clear this areas of informal settlers in order to rehabilitate the said estero de san miguel. The role of non-governmental and voluntary organizations has to be emphasized in this respect. If these advantages are properly developed. But due to the strong resistance of the people living in this area. as commented by daniel burnham “manila has the bay of naples. that is those who chose to live as informal settlers has no ownership upon the land where they built their houses. wherein in these attributes they served as the distinct characteristics of why some settlements tend to group or cluster. manila can equal the world’s greatest cities. the river of paris. Also. where the squatters shall be transferred. city government policies. As a complement to this. This external attributes define the threshold for the settlements. and in various other ways. Settlement relocation on the other hand is providing a separate area. place of origin. the people tend to settle there also because they have similar places of origin. For the social character. The intention to clear the informal settlers in areas that were considered as danger zones. that it is not necessary to transfer the creek dwellers to . were long overdue. the local government come up with another solution. for there is a mosque near the area. in improving the quality of their settlement is also an important resource that has to be tapped for improvement. This setup is similar to water supply but for sanitation or toilet facilities and drainage system it is unacceptable to standards. Before.” Was not sustained. the attribute is religion. In this case. and length of stay in city.

html Ayer. The idea of solving the issues for informal settling shall be convenient for these aspects. The pursuance of this law strives to be of equipment to the problems that concerns informal settlers. University of the philippines.distant provinces but instead to conduct a so-called slum upgrading. squatters and squatter settlements. using and generating their own resources. the creation of the anti-squatting law (presidential decree 772) is being practiced. under which people. Defining squatter settlements : www. the need is primarily for a change in attitude towards squatting. where instead of taking a confrontationist attitude.Manila’s creekside dwellers plead: urbanpoorassociates. References: Santiago. Spare us from relocation. This idea is adapted from the slumupgrade on the stretch of bangkok’s bang bua canal where 3. because of the possibility of giving them a much better way of living.2003.blogspot. Hecho. The migration of these people tend to overpopulate the city. The restoration of historic intramuros: a case study in plan implementation. One such approach that has been receiving considerable attention from various government and public authorities has been the "enabling" approach.Leonardo. the society and the built environment shall work in tandem with one another in order for this to be achieved. Asteya People from the rural areas will still come to the city. Manila’s edge: it’s geography : hechoayer. surp & planades Snirivas. could find unique local solutions for their housing and shelter problems.400 families benefited from the program. governments have strived to create an enabling Housing Proposals . they opt to live as squatters. Considering the inevitability of squatting. In line with programs of the government. Quezon city. The goal to achieve the quality way of living is aspired by all which is Postrado. wherein the law directs eviction of squatters. The people. like in the case of estero de san miguel.gdrc. The idea to relocate the families in estero de san miguel is still a pending case. There is no universal "quick-fix" solution that can solve all the problems of squatting in all parts of the developing world.