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500 INTRAMUROS FAMILIES TO BENEFIT FROM NEW HOUSING DEAL
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The Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and the Intramuros Administration (IA) entered into an agreement for the resettlement and relocation of about 500 informal settler families living inside Intramuros.

Signing the memorandum of agreement on March 27, 2019 at the HGC Building in Makati were President Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, HUDCC Chairman Eduardo del Rosario, and IA Administrator Atty. Guiller Asido. SHFC OIC-Senior Vice President for Operations Atty. Leo Deocampo, IA Finance and Administrative Division Chief Merceditas de Sahagun, Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III, and IA Accountant III Virginia Laserna witnessed the ceremony.

The resettlement of the initial batch of beneficiaries, who are currently living on the property owned by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, is targeted to be completed by 2021. Two larger communities composed of about 1,000 families may be included in the second phase of the initiative.

To implement the project, an initial amount of P410 million was made available to SHFC to cover the costs for land acquisition, site development, and house construction. Aside from the foregoing, which will be lent out to the community as loans, the said fund will also cover subsidy grants for livelihood initiatives, road right of way to the project site, establishment of settlement management, social preparation, and capacity building of stakeholders. Livelihood is particularly important to prevent the usual impact of relocation which is loss of employment, economic displacement, and impoverishment. These measures are part of the efforts to revive and preserve the cultural heritage of Intramuros, which is one of the country’s top tourist destinations where visitors can experience Spanish-era Manila through its churches, museums, and other historical sites.

For its part, IA, an agency attached to the Department of Tourism, will assist SHFC in the identification and tagging of partner-homeowners, and in the relocation and resettlement of the beneficiaries. IA will coordinate with the receiving local government unit of homeowners associations in securing the needed documents, as well in the issuance of permits, approved site development, and building plans, among others.

The loan to be provided to each family shall not exceed the socialized housing ceilings approved by HUDCC, which will also supervise and coordinate the implementation of the MOA and adopt basic policies and guidelines to ensure compliance between and among the parties to achieve the desired objectives.

The agreement is an affirmation of SHFC’s tried and tested multi-stakeholder and participatory approach to housing. By pooling their resources, government agencies will be able to provide more families from the marginalized sectors with housing and tenurial security assistance, thus improving their quality of life. As end-user of the project, the beneficiaries, on the other hand, contribute meaningfully to the initiative by voluntarily vacating their structures and participating fully in the whole process of visioning, planning and implementation. The IA specifically wanted a participatory approach to ensure that the needs of the families are addressed that is why it specifically chose SHFC for the undertaking. It is hoped that the families will leave their present residences as an empowered community, rather than a defeated one.