By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Residents recently evicted from Barangay 23-C Salmonan here should organize themselves into an association to be able to avail of housing loans from the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) head Ivan Cortez said.
Cortez said his office would even be willing to guide the illegal settlers affected by the demolition last Monday on how to organize themselves into an association, then refer them to the SHFC for the processing of their loan applications to acquire their own properties.
He pointed this out as he blamed the Salmonan residents’ refusal to be interviewed for census and tagging by the city government in the past as the main reason why they could not be eligible for relocation.
“The association should raise an equity for them to avail of the loan,” Cortez added.
At least 280 Muslim and Christian families were left homeless Monday as authorities demolished their houses in Barangay 26-C Salmonan, Quezon Boulevard, where several families have to have lived for as long as five decades.
Their community was claimed by Tausug Datu Bahajin Marcos Mahadali.
The residents countered the claims of Mahadali by saying the transfer certificate title covers only 1,003-square meter property in Barrio Tugbok, Lianga, and not the 3,000-square meter property where most of the houses stand.
Cortez said some of the illegal settlers might not be able to access support from the city government as they may not qualify as beneficiaries under Republic Act 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992.
The UDHA defines “underprivileged and homeless citizens as individuals or families residing in urban and urbanizable areas whose income or combined household income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who do not own housing facilities. These shall include those who live in makeshift dwelling units and do not enjoy security of tenure.”
The 2015 poverty survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Davao Region stated that a Dabawenyo needed P1,896 a month to meet both basic and non-basic needs.
Newly-appointed National Urban Poor Commission head Norman B. Baloro said they can assist the Salmonan residents form an association as part of their office’s mandate “to provide social preparation” for the poor.
He added they were open to accommodate the concerns of the displaced families.