Estancia, July 27 2014 — On 12 July, community organizers of UN-Habitat visited Samahang Urban ng Maralitang Mamamayan (SUMAMA, Local Association of Urban Poor Communities) – Home Owners Association Inc. (HOAI) in the municipality of Estancia to conduct the shelter project’s first community action plan (CAP) workshop, where community needs and issues were discussed with residents and HOAI officers. Approximately 35 members actively participated throughout the three-hour session, which included an announcement of the list of tentative project beneficiaries.
Among many community infrastructure issues raised, priority was given to drainage improvement. Several residents’ lots have a creek running right in the middle, making the lots unsuitable for building anything on them. HOAI already requested the local government to resolve this by infilling or realigning the existing creek.
Payment of household mortgage arrears was second on the list of priorities, emphasizing the need for clear and standard policy in determining whether or not families who are late in their mortgage payments are eligible for participation in the shelter project. Though it was made clear that the shelter project does not discriminate between paying and non-paying residents, the final list of project beneficiaries must be proposed by HOAI. It is up to the community to decide what conditions, if any, they want implemented for non-paying or delinquent households.
Out of 37 applicants for the shelter project, 21 were identified as eligible beneficiaries by UN-Habitat based on site technical assessments and discussions with the individuals. Before the list of tentative beneficiaries was made public, a UN-Habitat community organizer explained each criterion for beneficiary selection, which seems to have helped community members understand and accept the results of the selection.
The list of selected tentative beneficiaries, which HOAI finds to indeed include the neediest of households, will be publicly posted on both entrances to the community for three days, giving residents ample time not only to view the selection but also to apply, re-apply, and express objections.
Iloilo, July 25 2014 — Four representatives from Samahang Urban ng Maralitang Mamamayan (SUMAMA, Local Association of Urban Poor Communities) – Home Owners Association Inc. (HOAI) in Estancia travelled to Iloilo City with the UN-Habitat team on 10 July to see a model typhoon-resistant shelter built from bamboo.
The Hilti Foundation, a European charitable foundation specializing in housing, has been studying and testing the bamboo design since 2012. UN-Habitat will be working in partnership with the Hilti Foundation in Estancia to provide single-story houses built with a bamboo truss roof and reinforced bamboo wall panels covered with cement plaster.
After visiting the bamboo model house and a brief introduction of the Hilti Foundation and its local counterpart, the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, the SUMAMA HOAI group toured the on-site workshop and warehouse where workers were assembling reinforced bamboo panels in various configurations for walls with windows or doors.
Capiz, July 23 2014 — On 9 July, UN-Habitat community organizers met with the Home Owners’ Association Inc. (HOAI) members of Pawa in the municipality of Panay, Capiz. In this coastal community, majority of the men are out at sea where their work and livelihoods are based. As a result, 90% of those who attended the meeting were women.
In the meeting, community members were briefed on their new role as UN-Habitat partners and the organization’s upcoming projects designed to help rehabilitate Haiyan-affected areas. More importantly, criteria for becoming beneficiaries of UN-Habitat shelter projects were discussed in detail, and families were urged to complete and submit information sheets that were handed out if they felt that they met the criteria.
The meeting also discussed upcoming training sessions on construction methods that promoted structural resilience and building back safer homes, targeting local masons and carpenters. The women, however, eagerly spoke up, saying that they wanted to be trained as well, since most of the men would be at sea during the day. They were happily welcomed and encouraged to apply as trainees.
Capiz, July 21 2014 — On 20 and 23 June, technical assessments were conducted in Belle Village HOAI (Home Owners’ Association Inc.) community in the municipality of Pontevedra, Capiz. Ninety-five households submitted applications for reconstruction assistance. UN-Habitat technical team visited each household to assess the extent of the damage, to check lot boundaries, and to interview the applicants about their current living conditions.
While some applicants temporarily live with relatives outside the community, many continue to live in their damaged homes after having done some repairs themselves with salvaged materials. Many of these repaired houses had not been built back safer and were found to be unsafe and unlikely to withstand future typhoons. In the case of Rogie Alcazaren in Belle Village III, his house was heavily damaged. Despite that, his family (with seven children) had no other option but to continue residing under their now slanted roof and whatever else was left of their house.
In Belle Village II, due to its low-lying location and lack of proper community infrastructure, footpaths to the houses are swampy, substantially compromising mobility for people. Improvement of community infrastructure such as drainages and paving the common foot path were identified as urgent issues.
So far, out of 2,430 families in 20 HOAI communities from 10 Barangays in Capiz and Iloilo Provinces, 331 families have submitted their applications to UN-Habitat and initial technical assessment and verification of potential beneficiaries were completed at 240 sites. Work is ongoing, and follow-up visits are required to help the HOAIs prepare their final list of qualified beneficiaries.
Tacloban, July 18 2014 — Since 18 June, UN-Habitat has been conducting technical surveys in potential beneficiary communities of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements Project across Western Visayas.
The team of shelter experts, architects, and community mobilizers visited residential lots acquired under the Community Mortgage Program to inspect the current conditions of the damaged houses, gather information on land tenure, and assess the state of sanitation. The assessment uses a tool kit detailing the damage and reconstruction requirements of each house.
To further determine a beneficiary’s eligibility, UN-Habitat evaluated each household’s capacity to recover from typhoon impacts. UN-Habitat closely collaborated with leaders and members of home owners’ associations in validating data gathered from the household profiling done in April 2014.
Funded by the Government of Japan, the shelter project is also a partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
Capiz, July 17 2014 — As part of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlement Project funded by the Government of Japan, UN-Habitat will be building 610 houses in around 30 communities in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo. As the project operates using a community-driven approach, it also includes the training of local skilled workers on construction methods for building strong shelters, as well as the repair and improvement of key community infrastructure such as drainages.
Design of the shelters was developed in collaboration with the Capiz chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) while the structural integrity was checked by the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines. The design is now being finalized even as technical site assessment and beneficiary selection are ongoing.
The house provided by UN-Habitat will be a core house — a strong and safe shelter measuring 4.2 by 5 meters which can be incrementally expanded in the future. Its structural framework is reinforced concrete with a collar beam. The lower walls are made with hollow concrete blocks, while the upper walls are from bamboo infill panels.
The structure has a four-sided hip roof built with a single wooden truss crossing the structure diagonally and supporting other rafters. The design incorporates DRR features such as reinforced attachment of structural elements and can resist up to 200-km/h wind loads.
Manila, July 11 2014 — The Philippines has been conducting a series of extensive sub-national and national consultation workshops since April this year with diverse urban actors such as national government officials, local authorities, civil society, private sector, academic institutions and all relevant interest groups as it prepares its National Report for Habitat III.
Habitat III is the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development which takes place in 2016. Habitat Conferences are convened every twenty years to discuss and chart new approaches in response to the challenges and opportunities of urbanization and the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
Chaired by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Conference evaluates urban and housing policies affecting the future of cities from a global governance perspective. Habitat III will be one of the first global conferences after the Post-2015 Development Agenda with a view to generate a ‘New Urban Agenda’ for the 21st century which recognizes the increasingly dynamic changes of human civilization.
Under-Secretary Celia Alba, Secretary-General of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Chairperson of the multi-agency National Steering Committee established to prepare the Report, said that all efforts have been explored to ensure that the eventual Philippine Habitat III National Report will be a product of a collaborative effort among a broad representation of urban actors who generously contributed their expertise in the sub-committee reports, regional and national consultation workshops, expert group meetings and reviews, among others.
The Report will tackle the initiatives in addressing the priority concerns identified in Habitat II (Istanbul 1996) and the lessons learnt during its implementation. It will mainly cover comprehensive discussions on the issues and challenges of urban demographics, land and urban planning, environment and urbanization, urban mobility, urban governance and legislation, urban economy, housing and basic services and will outline the country’s plan of action to respond to the challenges and opportunities of urbanization.
Throughout the consultation workshops for Habitat III, Christopher Rollo, UN-Habitat Philippines Programme Manager, highlighted the agency’s partnership with the government and development partners in promoting sustainable urban development in the country which has been strengthened through various projects like the Achieving Sustainable Urban Development (ASUD) and the Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI) of which several Philippine cities are among the pilot cities for many global initiatives.
The UN-Habitat Philippine Office provided technical support to the preparation of the Habitat III Philippine Report which, upon endorsement by the HUDCC Council, will be submitted by the Philippine government to the Habitat III Preparatory Committee in New York by August.
Estancia, July 1 2014 — UN Habitat, together with its partner, Hilti Foundation, recently held a meeting with the town administrators of Estancia to discuss the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlement Project, which identified a potential beneficiary community in Poblacion Zone 1 of the municipality.
Project Manager, Mr. Robert Deutsch, introduced UN Habitat’s plan of constructing typhoon-resistant houses for over 600 families in various parts of Western Visayas that were devastated by Yolanda. He also added that the project would also cover the training of local skilled workers on building robust shelters and the repair and improvement of key community infrastructures.
Ms. Nerissa Piamonte discussed the integration of Hilti Foundation’s bamboo shelter model into the core house design. The organization strongly advocates the optimization of locally available and sustainable construction materials.
Standing in for Mayor Rene Cordero, the executive administrators, Ms. Ninfa Nacionales and Ms. Lina Acosta, expressed their gratitude to UN Habitat and Hilti Foundation, and assured that the municipal government will provide technical assistance wherever possible. Also present was Municipal Planning & Development Coordinator, Mr. Eugene Tentativa, Ms. Maria Socorro D. Ignacio (UN Habitat), and Ms. Ruby Rose Robas (Hilti Foundation).
Other potential beneficiary sites that were identified so far, in consultation with the Social Housing Finance Corporation, include Brgys. Guba, Ilawod, and Tacas in Pontevedra; Brgys. Bato, Baybay, Punta Tabuc, Tiza in Roxas City; and Brgy. Tanza Norte of Panay.