I am happy to announce that last week, my long-time dream of providing our informal settler, fellow Manilans from the depressed area of Baseco with a home that they can truly call their own, has finally come to fruition.
I and my working partner, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, launched in December last year the ‘BaseCommunity’ which we vowed will be the new face of the depressed area of Baseco in Tondo, Manila.
Last week, we inaugurated it and on the said occasion, the first few units were granted to the deserving and qualified beneficiaries as we also broke ground for the new playground which can be enjoyed by the kids.
In my short speech, I thanked the residents for helping me become mayor so I could help them too and make use of the position they bestowed upon me to make their lives better.
The ‘BaseCommunity’ we inaugurated last week is just the first of a series of housing projects we have begun and in fact, we are already readying ‘BaseCommunity Phase 2’ as of this writing.
We in the city government of Manila will not allow the pandemic to put at a standstill our dreams for our dear fellow residents who see their leaders as the only ones they can really really rely on in these trying times.
The ‘up-and-down’ or two-storey townhouses which we provided for the poor, homeless residents of Baseco measure 20 square meters per floor, complete with two bedrooms, a kitchen and toilet as well as a laundry and study area.
The housing units stand in the area which got hit by fire and which was subdivided equally among those who used to reside there.
The ‘BaseCommunity’ is just the start of a series of other housing programs that we in the city government have lined up and that include the Tondominium 1, Tondominium 2 and the Binondominium.
I strongly feel for the squatters, having being one myself. I still clearly remember having spent my boyhood sharing the worries of my mother and father that tomorrow, or even after a hard day’s work, we may no longer have a home. The threat of a demolition or being kicked out of a property that is not ours always hangs over our heads.
Our family had always dreamt of having a home of our own and having the peace of mind that you will always have a roof over your head.
Fortunately, I was able to enter showbiz and it was then that little by little, we were able to live better lives and finally experience living in a real house.
I genuinely know by heart how extremely difficult it is to be homeless—to be a squatter, literally because I experienced it. This was where I was coming from when I began dreaming of providing the city’s informal settlers and renters a home that they can truly call their very own.
I also lent an ear to the residents who said they have been living in makeshift homes as squatters in Baseco for many years, some even up to 30 years, made worse by fire hitting the said thickly-populated residential area.
My only appeal for the beneficiaries is for them to make sure that they will take good care of the units provided by the city government and keep them and their surroundings clean at all times.
As I have stated over and over, being a squatter should not automatically mean that one has to be filthy and this is where I am also banking on the barangay officials, that they would help maintain cleanliness in the area.
I thank Vice Mayor Lacuna and the Manila City Council over which she presides, along with majority floor leader Atty. Joel Chua for helping me realize this dream via the passage of an enabling fiscal ordinance for the purpose.
Special thanks also goes to city engineer Armand Andres, city electrician Randy Sadac, city architect Pepito Balmoris and the barangay officials in the area for helping out in the horizontal
Meanwhile, Moreno and Lacuna also broke ground and awarded the first housing unit of the Baseco housing project called, ‘BaseCommunity.’
My gratitude also goes to Atty. Cris Fernandez for his ideas and department of public services (DPS) chief Kenneth Amurao for keeping the whole area clean at all times.
And last but certainly not the least, I thank all the construction workers who got involved in the said project. I am sure that just like us, their hearts are also filled with joy, knowing their efforts changed the lives of many underprivileged families in the city.
With everyone’s help and support, dreams do come true in our beloved city.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, Godfirst!
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘IskoMoreno Domagoso.’