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Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Photo credits: Philippine Daily Inquirer

DILG grants P334M to ‘build communities’ for the urban poor

Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Photo credits: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Photo credits: Philippine Daily Inquirer

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – ‘It’s more than just building houses. We’re building communities.”
This is how Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas described the One Safe Future Program (1SF) after the DILG granted?six city governments in Metro Manila?P334.5 million seed fund for?socialised housing during the Urban Poor Solidarity Week.
“Hindi [ito] political promise kundi moral promise ni PNoy?(This isn’t a political promise but a moral promise made by PNoy.),” Roxas said in the MOA signing in the BASECO Evacuation?Centre?Compound in Manila, together with Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, marking the culmination of the week-long celebration.
President Aquino placed Roxas in charge of the relocation of informal settler families (ISFs) living in high-risk areas in Metro Manila by virtue of Memorandum Order No. 57 signed last year.
“Nandito tayo para maisakatuparan ang isang matibay at ligtas na tahanan para sa lahat [ng nakatira sa mapanganib na lugar]?(We are here to provide sturdy and safe houses for all those living in danger areas.),” Roxas added.
Under the program is OPLAN Likas, which will also be positively affected by the multimillion-peso grant.
A revolving fund that will be used for the in-city resettlement of ISFs is provided for in the MOA signed by key Local Government Officials in Metro Manila and DILG Undersecretary for the Urban Poor, ISFs and Other Special Concerns Tom Villarin.
As of this year, Metro Manila has almost a total of 14,500 ISFs, most of them are staying along the 3-meter easement of eight (8) priority waterways in the cities of Malabon, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Navotas and Manila.?More than 8,300 families have already been?relocated to safe areas also within the metro.

Collectively, the 1SF program envisions an ISF-free community in Metro Manila by 2016.
Roxas also stressed that the relocation program is not a “one size fits all” solution,?citing the importance of a bottom-up?approach in addressing the needs of stakeholders, as?materialised in the People’s Plans.
“Dahil buong komunidad tayong nandito…ito ay bahagi ng tinatawag ng Pangulong Aquino na ‘whole of country approach’: nakikiisa at nagkakaisa,?(Because we’re all here as a community, this is in fulfillment of what President Aquino calls ‘whole of country approach’: participatory and united.),” he remarked.
Services provided by the government in partnership with other organisations such as the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), People’s Organizations (POs) and even the World Bank, have already helped more than 280,000 informal settler families since 1989.
“1SF is DILG’s way to lay the foundation for a better community by supporting LGUs provide safe shelter for the people. We hope that this will continue so we can truly achieve a safe future for everyone,”

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.