Two years ago, the Philippine public awoke to an unusual piece of news. Before dawn on 8 March 2017, thousands of homeless people (estimates vary from 6,000 to 12,000) in the province of Bulacan, just outside of Metro Manila, had taken over six government housing sites in the town of Pandi. These sites, with nearly 6,000 units, had been largely left empty for five years, with only a small number of residents.

These 6,000 homes in Pandi were representative of a far bigger situation. According to an audit of the National Housing Authority at the end of that year, there were 127,225 vacant government or socialised housing units nationwide.

According to a 2017 National Housing Authority audit, there were 127,225 vacant government or socialised housing units nationwide

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Michael Beltran

Michael Beltran is a freelance journalist from the Philippines.