UP-ALL : Urban Poor Alliance (Pilipinas)

Online Space for Housing and Land Rights Advocates

Quezon City: A City of Contradictions

Posted by urbanpooralliance on August 8, 2007

Quezon City ranks among the most established city in the country, especially since for nearly three decades, it functioned as the Philippine’s capital. In recent years, particularly under the stewardship of Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Quezon City has enjoyed appellations such as “The Richest City”, “The Best Managed City”, “The Most Business Friendly City”, and even “The Hollywood Capital of the Philippines.” Such titles are more than image-building ploys as they are backed by solid facts, accomplished with huge doses of determination and innovation over a certain period of time.



Throughout his term as mayor, Belmonte has turned Quezon City from the most bankrupt to the most liquid cities in Metro Manila. When he assumed office, the city incurred a huge debt, most notably the P1.25 billion from the Land Bank of the Philippines and some payable to various contractors, amounting to P1.4 billion.



The city boasts it fiscal efficiency that has resulted to a budget surplus of P282 million annually for the last five years. The local administration has likewise enforced a computerization program that attempts to make taxation more transparent and up to date and break the red tape in business processing. With its huge savings, the local government has managed to finance additional infrastructure especially roads and extended other services like day care centres.



Despite this extraordinary feat, the city is also home to a vast population of Metro Manila’s urban poor. According to the Urban Poor Affairs Office, informal settlers account for 45 percent of the population, roughly 199,678 families as of 2004. Being the largest city 2.17 million people, Quezon City is also the biggest producer of solid waste. Land value can also range from as low as P2,800 per square meter to P25,000 per square meter.



The city also has a massive pool of labor resources especially since the average age of its population is 24 years yet its unemployment rate is pegged at 15 percent.



Health institutions including those specialising in certain diseases such as the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney Institute and Philippine Lung Center are concentrated in the city. Such is likewise the case of educational institutions, including the country’s top universities. But due to the increasing population living under the poverty line, access to infrastructure and services remain beyond the people’s grasp.



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