Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin T. Gatchalian topbilled a local and international delegation of stakeholders on critical urban issues at a dialogue sponsored by the World Bank recently, highlighting the City’s experience and lessons on sustainable housing projects which underscores the multi-stakeholder partnership as an effective ingredient to a successful slum-upgrading program.
Hosted by the Philippines Urban Consortium, the knowledge-sharing event held at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila in Pasig City which was participated in by Local Government Units (LGUs), national government agencies, People’s Organizations (POs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), the academe, and foreign resource speakers from Thailand, Japan and the United States revolved around the theme “City Competitiveness and Social Inclusion: Learning from Innovations.”
Through the invitation of Christopher Pablo, World Bank’s Senior Operations Officer for Sustainable Development Department – Philippines, East Asia and the Pacific, the City Chief Executive spoke about the success story of the City Government’s flagship housing project “Disiplina Village,” to provide valuable opportunity for participants to learn more about slum improvement efforts for their respective localities.
The project stemmed from the need to provide safe and permanent homes for 1,900 informal settler families in the city who were worse affected by Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009. It is the first and the only such project in the country and is being groomed by the city as template for other in-city resettlement projects in the future. A sustainable partnership between the City Government, the private and business sectors, the non-government organizations (NGOs) and the project beneficiaries themselves made Disiplina Village project a reality
Mayor WIN emphasized the commitment of the City Government to address poverty by “investing on people to mold an empowered community with responsible homeowners by making them active partners in developing their own community. Community empowerment programs,such as trainings, exchange visits to other model communities and social preparations are formulated to further help them improve their impoverished situation,” he said.
Parallel to the City Mayor’s presentation was Thailand’s Baan Mankong Program, a “globally-regarded” national slum-upgrading project spearheaded by Community Organization Development Institute (CODI).
Former CODI Director Somsook Boonyababancha, in her presentation, likewise, vewed “urban poor housing development [as] an investment, [and] not only as social expenses.”
Department of Local Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Austere Panadero also joined the discussion by giving importance to a holistic approach in addressing the needs of the public, especially of the urban poor.
Urban Planning expert, and Government, Politics, and Global Studies Professor at the Arizona State University, Mr. Douglas Webster agreed on by saying “lack of capacity, resources and systems” can derail a well-planned local economic development plan.
Two World Bank-supported projects, the Quezon City Local Economic Development (QC-LED) Project and the Urban Partnerships for Sustainable Upliftment, Renewal, Governance and Empowerment (UPSURGE) Project which has an area of cooperation in Barangay Gen. T. de Leon, Valenzuela City, also presented their accomplishments.
Regina Samson, program coordinator for the QC-LED Project shared that a thorough understanding of the situation at the grassroots level will steer policy and decision makers to sound actions for the constituency.
Benedict Balderrama for the UPSURGE Project meanwhile added that utmost community participation remains an essential tool in implementing urban renewal projects. Dominador Asis Homeowners Association President, Josephine Eugenio represented UPSURGE beneficiaries from the city.
The National Housing Authority (NHA), the country’s lead housing agency, earlier recognized the Valenzuela City Government “for its contribution in advocating and promoting efficient delivery of housing strategies, programs and projects” in 2010.
Vice President Jojo Binay and NHA General Manager Chito Cruz gave the citation because of the city’s stance on “humane relocation process and responsive socio-economic services to nurture the new communities.”
- Mark Lester Cayabyab (2011-07-15)