After a year of toiling, one hundred and twelve poor families in Valenzuela City are now moving in to new seven housing buildings which they helped build themselves.
Inaugurated today at the Disiplina Village, the flagship socialized housing project of the city government, the buildings were built by volunteers of the humanitarian organization Gawad Kalinga and the beneficiary families who were former informal settlers living along the Tullahan River.
Like the15 existing buildings in the village, each has two storeys and 16 units. A unit has a floor area of 16 square meters and a 12-square-meter loft.
Each beneficiary family had to render 500 hours of “sweat equity contribution”, a provision in the Home Space Agreement between the families and the city government that requires them to take part in the construction.
The units will be leased to the families at PhP 300 per month. The collected fee will be used by the city government to fund future housing projects.
Jalica Pulvera’s family couldn’t have asked for a better bargain. Money is tight, with only her husband, a construction worker, to support her and their one-year-old baby. The minimal fee will surely ease the family’s financial constraints.
“Dito sa Disiplina village, komportable kami, may sarili kaming tubig. (We live comfortably here. We [even] have our own water line.)” the 28-year-old Pulvera said.
“It is in [your own house] where you can build your dreams,” said Luis Oquiñena, Gawad Kalinga Executive Director, in his message during the inauguration. “It is in [your own house] where you can tell your children, anak, atin na talaga ito. Dito tayo mamumuhay, dito tayo tatanda, dito tayo makakalbo, dito mababawasan ng ngipin ko. Walang pwedeng magpaalis sa atin dito kundi tayo lamang. (It is in your own house where you can tell your children, child, this belongs to us now. This is where we would live until we grow old, our hair thin and some of our teeth missing. No one would make us leave except ourselves.)” He said.
The Disiplina Village project was designed to be a relocation site for the community of informal settlers in the Tullahan River which was devastated by typhoon Ondoy. To fund the project, the city government tapped private corporations and non-government organizations.
A total of 40 housing buildings were set to be constructed at a 1.9 hectare land in Barangay Ugong. Construction started in October 2010, with Gawad Kalinga on the helm. Since then, the organization has built a total of 22 buildings – where 350 families have been accommodated.
In May 2012, the National Housing Authority started constructing the first of the 18 buildings that would accommodate 594 families. Construction is still on-going and all buildings are expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The city government has also acquired an 11-hectare land in Barangay Bignay for the Phase 2 of the Disiplina Village project for other informal settler families living in danger zones.
Oquiñena broached the idea of outgoing mayor and congressman-elect Sherwin T. Gatchalian pushing for a bill on housing projects by partnership among the local government units, non-government organizations, private corporations and the communities.
Also during the inauguration, Mayor WIN feted the project donors including San Miguel Foundation, MERALCO, Maynilad, Dakilang Handog Foundation, Splash Corporation, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, and the Valenzuela Business Club.
“Umaasa kaming napabuti namin ang inyong pamumuhay sa pamamagitan sa tulong sa proyektong ito, (We are hoping that by helping out in this project, we also made your lives better.)” said Robert Huang, President of San Miguel Brewery, addressing the beneficiaries.
Mayor WIN exhorted the beneficiary families to maintain the upkeep of the buildings by practicing discipline in the community.
“Ang tawag po dito ay Disiplina Village, at dapat po nating panindigan ang pangalang iyan,” (We should endeavor to make Displina Village live up to its name) he said. “Iyon pong mabibigyan ng units ay panindigan po na ang lugar na ito ay ubod ng disiplina at ubod ng mga taong mahal ang kanilang lugar (Beneficiaries should strive to make this place a paragon of discipline and a hotbed of community spirit).