From Vulnerability to Stability: The story of 25,442 families
Over two years ago, some 4,033 families were squatting in and along waterways, even on soil accretions right in the middle of riverways. Another 4,529 were living a cat-and-mouse game with vehicles as they set up their shanties in road-right-of-ways. Everyday living was filled with life-and-death risks. Today, those families have homes of their own, in well-organized communities, joining 6,126 other informal settlers families who voluntarily moved out of North Triangle, to become legal first-time homeowners.
Their new homes are either in in-City resettlement sites such as QC-LGU’s seven Bistekville communities, or in near-City socialized housing communities developed by the National Housing Authority, which provided an allocation for Quezon City’s homeless in at least 8 such homesites near Metro Manila.
City funds for resettlement were generated through the QC-LGU’s implementation of Republic Act 7279, “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” (UDHA) which provided for a socialized housing tax (SHT). In Quezon City, the SHT took effect on January 2012 and it will end in 2016, after which shall start the refund of this tax to the taxpayers.
New Affordable Communities Rise
Within a period of less than two years from the time the tax took effect, six large socialized housing projects have been developed in Quezon City, with three more being finalized. Seven of these communities are located within Quezon City, in highly accessible sites, allowing minimal dislocation. Altogether, these are designed to produce 2,569 housing units for the same number of poor families.
The first project is in Barangay Payatas, along Molave Avenue, near the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma High School. Of its 354 dwelling units, 192 have completed construction and 136 beneficiaries have moved in. Fifty-eight of the new owners are public school teachers, while 78 are informal settler families (ISFs). This is in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
The second is located in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches, where 1,078 housing units are being built in an almost 4.9 hectare property. Ready for occupancy are 608 one-storey dwelling units with lofts, while the first 188 such units completed have been awarded to 47 teachers and 141 ISFs. This is in joint venture with property owner, Ofelia Arce, and developer, Phinma Property Holdings.
The third housing project is in Barangay Escopa, where Mayor Herbert Bautista has mobilized a Task Force that is resolving the decades-long problem of lack of Certificate of Entitlement to hundreds of families living in Escopa I, II, III and IV. The Quezon City Government has funded a new resurvey and new subdivision plan, in coordination with the residents of the area. Reblocking is now being done for the 60,305 sqm area, with adequate provisions for road and drainage systems. The QC-LGU is constructing 106 one-storey with loft housing units in Barangay Escopa II, the first 12 units of which are nearing completion. Gawad Kalinga is assisting in providing housing in Escopa III.
The fourth housing project is along Vargas Lane in Barangay Culiat, about 160 meters from Visayas Avenue. Land development is being undertaken for the 9,200 sqm area, which has been designed to house 218 families, as well as a road network. Habitat for Humanity is also assisting here.
The fifth housing project is along Madja-as Road in Payatas. Land development is ongoing for the 11,364 sqm area, where 187 housing units will be constructed. The sixth housing project is in Chestnut Street, Fairview. The Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) is assisting in the financing. The property will hold 209 dwelling units. Other infrastructure investments of the QC-LGU will be access roads and the construction of riprap along its side facing the Tullahan River.
These housing units are not free. The housing units are valued at Php 400,000 each. Various amortization schemes have been put in place, with partner agencies, for the payment by the beneficiaries of the housing units. The payments will replenish the Socialized Housing Trust Fund of the city, so that this becomes a sustainable project that will benefit many more.
To further speed up the development of new socialized housing projects, aside from local legislation, Mayor Bautista has been pushing for the enactment of national policies that will use the Internal Revenue Allotment as incentive for other local governments to provide land for socialized housing projects in their areas. This will help resolve the perennial problem of lack of lower-costing properties on which to construct affordable dwelling units, while transforming shanties into well-organized communities and removing urban blight.
Security of tenure benefits many more
About 10,754 poor families acquired property rights through community mortgage programs processed from 1990 to June 2013. This year, homeowners associations in barangays Gulod, Batasan Hills and Holy Spirit with 147 members were the beneficiaries. In 2012, eight HOAs in Pasong Tamo, Old Balara, Kaligayahan, San Agustin and Sta. Monica had 512 beneficiaries. The year before involved 19 HOAs, with 882 beneficiaries. The CMP is a mortgage financing program which assists legally organized associations of residents of blighted or depressed areas own the lots they occupy, providing them security of tenure and eventually improve their neighborhood. The City Government acts as the loan originator.
Lots purchased through direct sale resulted in 67 land titles transferred for 180 beneficiaries, 101 of whom have fully paid in 2012. For January to June 2013, 23 TCTs have been transferred for 147 beneficiaries, 58 of whom have fully paid.