Archive for the ‘urban poor’ Category

Anakpawis probes CMP

March 5, 2009

BAGUIO CITY — Anakpawis and Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (Ornus) will conduct a fact-finding mission (FFM) on the implementation of Community Mortgage Program (CMP) in Cypress, Irisan.

Ornus, a Baguio-wide alliance of urban poor communities, its allied organizations and advocates in the national and local level will conduct the said fact-finding mission in an attempt to bring their issues to the attention of the public, and to local and national legislation.

The FFM aims to involve affected residents in various caucuses in Cypress Point Village (CPV) and will reach out to the implementers of the CMP through the Homeowners Associations and dialogs with government offices, agencies and the Baguio City government. The FFM will be on March 5-6.

Complicated history

CMP is a mode of land acquisition defined by Republic Act 7279 commonly known as the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA). It is intended to help under priviliged and homeless citizens to own and develop home-lots. In the said program, communities are encouraged to organize associations to acquire the land.

According to the initial data of Ornus, the CMP in Irisan missed its objectives at delivering decent housing to the poor. Ornus alleged that CMP’s implementation is marred with serious allegations of corruption of its mandate to provide low-cost housing, among other needed social services.

According to the primer by Ornus, Cypress is an 18-hectare area in Barangay Irisan with more than 500 households and 2,700 individuals. Its title, OCT No. 56, in the name of CPV was subdivided into 248 lots. The title was among the 211 titles which were declared null and void by the Supreme Court in 1973 but was given consideration by Presidential Decree 1271.

In the 1970’s, the property was occupied by migrants from different places and was densely populated by the 1990s. Earlier occupants were not disturbed by the so-called original claimants or title holders. So that they even processed their claims through the Townsite Sales Application (TSA).

In 1993, a certain Arsenio Menor from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor came to Irisan and told the residents that the property was bought by a Mr. Peter Santos of the Asia Pine Hills Development Corporation (APHDC).

He then introduced the CMP to the actual occupants for them to own the lots. But the residents rejected it and instead negotiated to pay P350.00 per square meter. Menor however never went back to Irisan to finalize the negotiation.

During the term of then Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda as Chairperson of Committee on Land and Housing, a proposal to continue the plan of Menor pushed through. In 2000, the City Council passed a resolution authorizing then City Mayor Mauricio Domogan to negotiate with Peter Santos. In 2003, a subdivision plan for Cypress was approved by the council.

Three Homeowners Associations collected from the equity of members a total of P17, 335, 011.40 for the total of 77, 876 square meter or 7.8 hectares.

On August of 2003, more than houses were demolished by Baguio City demolition team in Purok 14-B in Cypress. Some residents were forced to stay with their relatives in other places of Baguio and the rest went back to the area and rebuilt their houses.

After barely a year, the person claiming to be Peter S.L. Santos wrote a letter to the different homeowners associations demanding to remit the equity. More or less P17 million was then paid by the residents as their equity to Santos.

As of now, the true identity of Santos who was claiming to be the president of APHDC has yet to be established especially that his signature in the Articles of Incorporation is different from other alleged signatures.

Demands on the CMP

Ornus has asked for an in-depth investigation of the CMP in Irisan as irregularities in its implementation has surfaced implying corruption.

They also further call for an investigation and the suspension on the said equity and amortization without any penalty should push through and the suspension of demolition orders within the CMP affected areas, according to ORNUS.

Moreover, Ornus demands that victims of demolition will be allowed to re-occupy their lots. Ornus also demands the investigation on the real identity of Peter Santos.

The results of the FFM will be released in a public program to be graced by Anakpawis representative Rafael Mariano. Ornus hopes through the FFM, Baguio officials will learn to look seriously into the case and initiate its own investigation and discuss appropriate legislation and action.

Besides Mariano, representatives of the national alliance of urban poor Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU), Interfaith Gathering for Truth and Accountability. # Aldwin Quitasol

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)