Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson, the Honorable Jejomar C. Binay leads the inauguration of the recently completed 12, 16-unit housing buildings at Disiplina Village, Valenzuela City’s housing project for typhoon Ondoy victims.
With this construction development from the efforts of the City Government of Valenzuela and its esteemed partners from the private sector, the housing buildings in the village now totals to 15, with 41 more currently being erected to accommodate the target 900 family relocatees.
To be transferred to the new buildings are the 192 second batch of beneficiary families who will be awarded with Certificates of Occupancy as legitimate residents of the housing project, summing up the total residents of the village to 238 families. These lucky families were determined through draw lots of names of around 900 families that either partially or totally lost their homes during the Typhoon Ondoy tragedy in 2009.
Coinciding with the activity is the Ground Breaking of Disiplina Village Phase II which will accommodate the remaining 960 families out of the total of 1,860 victim families in the city. This was made possible through a partnership with the National Housing Authority (NHA) as a beneficiary of the President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III’s directive to release “10 Billion-Peso Fund to Relocate Informal Settler Families Residing Along Danger Areas in Metro Manila.” The Memorandum of Agreement for the project will, likewise, was signed in the presence of the beneficiaries.
Disiplina Village is the first initiative in the country to address the devastating impact of Typhoon Ondoy, not only to Valenzuela, but to the whole country. It is cotangent with the National Government’s pledge to find permanent homes for 584,425 informal settler families in the metropolis, particularly the estimated 105,000 living in danger-prone areas such as riverbanks, esteros, waterways, under the bridges, roadways or sidewalks and aqueducts.
City Mayor WIN Gatchalian was the first local executive to fight for in-city relocation for the families displaced by the Northrail project, realizing how much impact forced migration has to families. Off-city relocation projects reportedly further worsen the impact of displacement to the relocates as it disrupts the living condition of the beneficiaries rather than improve them. They are being uprooted with scarce options to livelihood, with other problems commonly being encountered, such as water, sanitation, healthcare and education facilities. These experiences force them to return to or near their previous area of residence, and become informal settlers again.
Mayor WIN, a The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awardee for Public Service for his advocacy and conviction of “changing lives” through education and community development said that, in his personal assessment after consulting with the informal settlers, nobody really wants to live in danger areas, but they do because circumstances force them to.
“Gusto ng mga tao na maging malapit sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan. Kapag nilipat kasi sila sa malayo, wala silang pagkakakitaan. Hindi naman nila kayang kumita sa pagtatanim. Iyon ang request nila kaya pinagbigyan namin sila. (They want to relocate near their jobs. If they transfer to a far-flung place, they will lose income. They cannot rely on agriculture for livelihood. That was their request and we granted it.)” He said.
Through Mayor WIN’s call to help Valenzuelano victim families rise from the devastation of Ondoy in 2009, businesses and industries based in the city pulled together resources to raise funds for the construction of housing units to take them away from the danger zones along the Tullahan River and to rebuild their lives in a safer place. The money raised was coursed through the Dakilang Handog Foundation, Inc., while the city government provided the initial 1.9 hectare city property in Barangay Ugong as the relocation site. This unprecedented effort and collaboration gave rise to the Disiplina Village, the first housing project intended specifically for Typhoon Ondoy victims and the only one initiated by a local government unit (LGU).
Phase 1 has a medium-rise, 56-cluster housing buildings that will accommodate about 900 families. Each building is composed of 16 units, with 8 units on the ground floor and another 8 units on the second floor. A unit has a total area of 28 sq.m. (Main floor is 16 sq.m. + 12 sq.m. loft).
Through partnership with Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, a poverty alleviation and nation-building movement, 46 beneficiary families that used to live in the village on temporary shelters were awarded with Certificates of Occupancy and transferred to the initial three clusters buildings last February 2011 in an event dubbed as “Bagong Bahay, Bagong Buhay sa Disiplina Village.”
Present to grace the celebration for the turnover of the 12 new cluster buildings are National Housing Authority Assistant General Manager, Froilan R. Kampitan; San Miguel Brewery, Inc., President Roberto N. Huang; HUDCC Undersecretary Cecilia S. Alba; Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) Chairman Hernani Panganiban and Gawad Kalinga Executive Director, Jose Luis Oquiñena.
1st District Representative, Cong. REX Gatchalian, Vice Mayor Eric M. Martinez, 1st District Councilors Marlon Alejandrino, Antonio Espiritu, Ritche Cuadra and Corazon Cortez, 2nd District Councilors Lorie Natividad-Borja, Adrian Dapat, Kate Galang Coseteng and Lai Nolasco.