Manila Council approves shelter plan for 14,785 informal settlers living in ‘critical zones’

Published October 16, 2020, 12:22 PM

by Minka Klaudia Tiangco

The Manila City Council approved the Urban Settlements Office’s (USO) local shelter plan to provide low-income families and informal settlers living in “critical zones” with affordable, decent, and sturdy shelters.

Lawyer Cris Fernandez, Manila USO chief, said they plan to acquire 191.05 hectares of land to be developed into “socialized housing projects” from 2020 to 2025.

It would provide “livable and socially responsible residential communities” for 14,785 households at in-city resettlement by 2025.

These include residents living in households with “pending threats of demolition by 2020 to 2022,” she said.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the shelters will also be “disaster risk resilient and climate change-adaptive shelters.” 

“Our ultimate goal is clear—we will provide a livable resettlement area with low-cost housing and sufficient facilities for all residents. We will not stop until we have built a safe and decent community that every Manileño will be proud of,” Domagoso said in a statement Thursday. 

“I, too, personally experienced being an informal settler in Tondo during my younger years. This has been my drive to provide a comfortable shelter to every Manileño,” he added.

Fernandez said they would create a task force to prevent construction of new illegal structures in “no-build zones and danger areas.”

“We intend to implement the Shelter Plan with our resident stakeholders as partners, rather than as beneficiaries. We believe that the success of shelter interventions is increased by working directly with our residents. By bridging the gap between the demand for housing and availability of resources, we will be able to carry out the vision of Mayor Isko to provide Manileños with a decent home.” she said.

In 2019, the Manila Bay Clean-Up Rehabilitation and Preservation Program’s Regional Inter-Agency Committee gave the city government a “zero” grade after it discovered that the previous administration did not have a local shelter plan.

The Manila city government begun constructing three flagship socialized housing projects in 2020—Tondominium 1, Tondominium 2 and Binondominium.