Archive for the ‘housing’ Category

Shelter, rice, wage and oil top urban poor list

May 29, 2008

Ornus celebrates silver anniversary

BAGUIO CITY (May 23) — While the city’s urban poor remained hopeful that the demolition of structures would end in the communities where they have settled, the current rice crisis and the rising price of oil add burden to their daily struggle against poverty.

“Nagtalinaed a ti kangrunaan a dawat dagiti nakurapay nga umili ket ti desente a pagnaedan iti syudad,” (Urban poor’s priority demand remains to be a decent home in the city) Geraldine Cacho, chair emeritus of the Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus) said during the alliance’s 24th anniversary assembly at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary here.

Cacho quips, however, that the urban poor campaign is now focused on the rice crisis, the skyrocketing oil price and the legislated wages.

According to Ornus, three out of four city dwellers here, may be considered poor.

Ornus Chair Ignacio Pangket said the urban poor is worst hit by the rise in oil price and the current rice crisis. He said the current wages in the city could barely support the worker himself. He said although the minimum daily wage is P235, many employers do not comply with the law.

“Worse, not everyone is a wage-earner,” Pangket said. “Problema pay laeng ti kinakurang ti pagteggedan,” (The lack of employment remains a problem) he added.

Ornus gathered to prepare its members for the 25th anniversary next year.

Organizational growth

Formed in May, 1984, Ornus started with six organizations in four communities, namely Quirino Hill, Pinsao Pilot, Poliwes and Holy Ghost Extension. This rose to 23 organizations in December that year.

At present Ornus has four sub-sectoral and nine full-fledged community organizations, the biggest sectoral alliance in the city. The alliance has reached out to urban poor women, youth, indigenous elders and even drivers.

“People’s campaigns then centered on the right to shelter and all efforts then zeroed in on fighting demolition of shanties. These later added a third demand, which was the delivery of basic social services,” Cacho recalled.

Cacho told the gathering that from 1984 until 1987, the city’s urban poor launched marches and rallies almost three times a week demanding the ouster of then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos on top of their sector’s demand to stop demolitions and the advancement of the people’s right to shelter.

Legislative gains

These mass protests by urban poor communities in major cities resulted in the passage of a presidential action that granted moratorium on demolitions when Cory Aquino took to the presidency in 1987, according to Cacho.

In 1997, Republic Act 8368, repealed Republic Act 779, or the country’s anti-squatting law penned by Marcos in 1975. RA 8368, however, affirmed another law on urban housing, Republic Act 7279, which according to Cacho has failed to include a provision on low-cost housing.

Instead, RA7279 provided for the Community Mortgage Program, which aimed to sell residential lots at a cost that no urban poor could afford. Ornus and its member-organizations criticized CMP as a scheme to further bleed the urban poor dry.

Cacho remained firm the passage or the scrapping of laws resulted from protests. She cited that in Baguio City, demolitions of squatter shanties only stopped after the street demonstrations in the late 80’s before Marcos was ousted.

Social services

“Uray dagiti serbisyo ken imprastraktura ket inpinget nga naipan kadagiti komunidad babaen ti kadagiti party list nga impatugao tayo iti Konggreso,” (Even the services and infrastructure were asserted through the party lists that we voted into Congress) Cacho said, referring to multi-purpose halls built through Bayan Muna in Gabriela Silang, Poliwes and Happy Hallow through representatives Liza Masa and Satur Ocampo.

Anakpawis, through the late Cong. Crispin “ka Bel” Beltran, also extended funds for medical assistance at the Baguio General Hospital. Bayan Muna has earlier provided same funds at the Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet.

At present, community folk of Pinget Tapaw enjoy piped water made possible through lobby efforts and the urban poor assertion of their right to such services.


“Nakarkaro ti kinakurapay ken napaut met dagiti problema,” (Poverty worsened and the problems remained) Daisy Bagni, secretary-general of Ornus said.

For more than 24 years organized communities struggled against demolitions not only of squatter shanties in the city’s communities often tagged as blighted areas, but also of vendors in the central business district.

These communities have also inched their way into the delivery of basic social services and the assertion of indigenous culture and way of life.

Ornus recognized founding members Manong Pinto and Ama Fangloy and Pinatud pioneer Josie Sakiwat, who were in the Friaday gathering. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorthernDispatch)

Editorial Cartoon: Huwarang Ina Awardee

May 11, 2008

Huwad Na Ina

Gov’t washes hands off socialized housing fray

May 10, 2008

VICE President Noli de Castro admitted Friday that the government is helpless over the mounting complaints of owners of low cost housing against the Balikatan Housing Financial Inc., a subsidiary of the Germany-based Deutsche Bank.

“Hindi na natin hawak ito, nasa private company na ito (We no longer have control over this, it is already with a private company),” de Castro told reporters during an ambush interview Friday.

The Balikatan has taken over low-cost housing projects that have been delinquent in paying the amortizations.

Some of the socialized housing in Davao City, which had units transferred to the ownership of Balikatan Housing Financial Incorporated are in San Lorenzo Village, El Rio, Rosalina, Kadayawan, and Country Homes.

De Castro was in the city Friday to inaugurate and ground break three medium rise condominium properties of Filinvest and the DM Consunji Urban Developers Inc. He also graced the 1st Homeowners Association Summit.

De Castro explained that what happened with Balikatan was not a takeover of failed housing projects, rather, he said, the properties were sold to Balikatan.

A number of complaints were received by various media entities over the alleged unscrupulous manner of collection of the private firm.

Most of the complainants who claim to have been victims of the “takeover” of Balikatan are already the third and fourth owners of low cost housing that they have assumed from its original owners.

De Castro added that the properties sold to Balikatan were low cost housing that were delinquent in payment with the National Housing Mortgage Finance Corporation.

“Iba kasi pag private sector na ang kumokolekta, hindi tulad pag gobyerno na binabalewala lang ng tao dahil gobyerno nga ito (It is different when it is a private firm that collects payment, unlike when it is the government which the people would usually shrug off as it is only the government),” de Castro said.

He added that they are not in the authority to dictate upon the private entity on its mode of collection. “Pero baka pwede natin pakiusapan (But maybe we can try to talk to them),” he said on the possibility of changing the term of payment being offered by Balikatan.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles meanwhile called for an investigation on the matter, as he was even surprised with the issue involving Balikatan.

“We will have this investigated with the committee on housing, this is the first time that I have heard of this issue,” Nograles told reporters last Thursday evening.

Nograles said the mere fact that a private company is making business out of low cost housing is more than enough reason to call for an investigation. “It defeats the purpose of socialized housing,” he said.

“The housing program of the government is for us to provide more houses for the people, not to embargo more houses from them,” Nograles said.

The House Speaker added that socialized housing provided by the government is almost totally subsidized. “It is not meant for business,” he said.

(Sunstar Davao)