1M HAS. DREAM   For country’s informal settlers sought under Duterte’s watch

One of the country’s  top 10 soldiers for 2009 has expressed hope that President Duterte would be able to follow the Nicaraguan and Brazilian experience by providing ‘a million hectares of land for the country’s informal settlers.’

“With the leadership of President Duterte who is pro-poor, this dream is not remote,” Romeo Jandugan, a commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, told the just-concluded Caraga Urban Poor Socialized Housing Summit in Butuan City.

Jandugan, a retired army master sergeant, was named one of the country’s top 10 soldiers in 2009 by the MetroBank Foundation and the Rotary Club of Makati Metro.

He said Nicaragua and Brazil have provided one million hectares and 1.5 million hectares of land respectively for resettlement of their informal sectors.

He expressed the hope that the government would also look for as much land for its informal sector, also known as the urban poor. Saying  President Dutere serves with a heart for the people, he urged urban poor organizations to come up with a good platform for land tenure and shelter and not to be influenced by other sectors.

He encouraged homeowners association to avail themselves of the Community mortgage program of the government as an instrument to acquiring land and shelter.

The one-day summit, held on September 18, 2018,  opened with the theme: ‘Democratizing the Socialized Housing programs towards a genuine autonomy in HOA governance to attain sustainable and resilient communities.’

Atty. Ferdinand Iman, chief of operations of the PCUP in Mindanao, said the summit was primarily held “to bring closer to the landless grassroots communities, the housing programs and projects for them to access.”

He said it was also meant to identify gaps, challenges and courses of action that would make socialized housing programs more accessible and affordable to informal settlers.

To gain understanding of the different processes and protocols on the payment of fees, the summit invited participants from the Partnership for Philippines Support Services Agencies, Social Housing and Finance Corporation,  Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and representatives from 20 housing associations in the Caraga region to tackle housing concerns.

Ceasar Pagadangan, Jr. of the SHFC said the agency has targeted to provide land and housing to 55,000 recipients in four years in both regions 10 and 13.

Engr. Editha Abao of the HUDCC said the agency has targeted to build houses for 1.5 Filipino families nationwide from 2017 to 2022 under the ‘Biyaya ng Pagbabago’ program.

Engr. Cedric Butao of the City Housing and Development Office of Butuan said the LGU is looking to build 14,640 housing units by 2023 by way of implementing the Urban Development Housing Act.

Aside from Iman, other PCUP-Mindanao staff members who helped facilitate the success of the summit included Augusto Tapia, Alyana Sen Comprado and Marites Soriano. (JKL)