This is my entry to the NatGeo and Worldnomads Travel Scholarship this year. I don’t have any idea about the scholarship until the first week of December when I stumbled upon a video on Youtube with the video ad of this scholarship.
A typical day scene amongst a community of urban poor people along the railroad track of Philippine National Railways (PNR). This location in Taguig City is just one example of hundreds of thousand population of squatters left occupying vacant lots off the railways. Such communities are commonly known in Metro Manila as the “Home Along Da Riles” or Home along the Rails.
Broken rail connector hardly maintained by the government. Began in 1892, the railroad company used to operate a 479-kilometer route from Northern Philippines to the south. One of the major causes of the problem not to mention the government’s neglect in past decades is the persistent problems with informal settlers.
Target areas to build squats are usually slums like riversides and along the railways in Metro Manila. Creeks around the metro are being used as dumpsite resulting to heavy floodings in the urban areas during rainy season.
This is Boboy. He became vagrant when his mother got hit by a speeding train while maintaining her vegetable garden about a year ago. These illegal inhabitants utilize vacant lots off the railroad to grow vegetables to sell their crops to local markets.
It is indeed a long journey for these illegal inhabitants to fight for their rights to claim properties that are not even theirs. Getting rid of squatters seems like an endless effort by the government despite government relocation programs offered to them. These illegal settlers keep on coming back after relocating them and gradually build their houses in the city slums.