Aiming to rebuild and redesign urban spaces and systems to address the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) commenced a series of training on Resilient and Green Recovery (RGR) Planning on Monday, August 9.


Representatives from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Climate Change Commission (CCC), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG) joined the virtual event where to share resilient and green recovery efforts under their respective mandates.

More than 100 planners and technical officers from the DHSUD central and regional offices participated in the virtual session facilitated by UN-Habitat through the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD) project.

The orientation workshop served as an opener for a series of trainings and mentoring sessions designed to strengthen the capacities of DHSUD planners in guiding local government units, homeowners associations, and developers for planning and designing climate-resilient plans and programs.


Rebuilding forward better

“We may have the guidelines and standards but it’s not business as usual anymore, we must talk about resilience not only considering hazards and disasters, but we have to link it to climate change and the socio-economic development of our citizens,”

stressed Nora Diaz, DHSUD Environmental, Land Use Planning, and Urban Development Bureau Director.

Diaz also encouraged the participants to use their learnings in envisioning ways how to sustain development and recovery amid the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change.

“Though this pandemic adversely affected us, it presented opportunities for our lives, about the city we live in, and our built environment that in fact we can change and we can do this through better planning with new perspectives and paradigms,”

said UN-Habitat Philippines Country Programme Manager Christopher Rollo while inspiring attendees that prospects are present to rebuild forward better.

Mark Diamante from the Planning Service of DHSUD started the training by providing an overview of the National Housing and Urban Development Sector Plan. Diamante discussed the sector plan in terms of thematic outputs and banner projects of DHSUD, while highlighting the different entry points for mainstreaming RGR.


Discussing policies for resilient and green recovery

To see these entry points through a national lens, Remedios Endencia from NEDA talked about the urban development and housing strategies in the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.

Endencia also specified strategies in the We Recover As One report that recommends actions to improve environmental health and mitigate climate change, ensuring water security, and updating local disaster risk reduction plans and Comprehensive Land Use Plans to include health hazards.

Segueing from how recovery actions can anchor on these long-term development plans, Laids Cea from UN-Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific explained the guiding principles, framework, and concepts on resilient and green recovery planning.

Pinpointing areas where DHSUD serves as lead and implementing agency, Cheryl Leal of OCD elaborated on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan and its key sections that support disaster resilient human settlements.

Jerome Ilagan, Chief of CCC Policy and Research Division, raised important human security priorities from the National Climate Change Action Plan, that includes disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in health and social service delivery systems.

With the recently released LGU Guide for Recovery and Rehabilitation from COVID-19, Angela Mamuyac of the DILG Bureau of Local Government Development shared the framework, institutional arrangements, and implementation mechanisms that can be adapted deal with the current pandemic crisis.

Three more training sessions will be held in August focusing on RGR agenda and strategies, policy and program development, critical path analysis, project brief, and investment programming.

BCRUPD is a capacity building project funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is being implemented UN-Habitat in partnership with Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Climate Change Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, and League of Cities of the Philippines.

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Marawi City — Seventeen staff from the Community Social Services Division and Technical Unit of the National Housing Authority (NHA) have been trained on participatory community mapping and technical skills in the context of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) concepts and processes. The training was conducted by UN-Habitat 30 June 30-1 July 2021 at the NHA Site in Barangay Kilala, Marawi City. The training conducted through lectures, GPS data collection fieldwork and hands-on sessions was part of the capacity-building support of UN-Habitat for its partners in the implementation of the Rebuilding Marawi Project.


UN-Habitat is using the STDM information tool to create the database to map the new houses of internally displaced families (IDPs) under the Rebuilding Marawi Project. This database also stores the profiles of 1,057 IDPs and these are digitally linked to maps of their original location inside the Most Affected Area (MAA) in Marawi City and their assigned resettlement sites where permanent houses are currently being constructed by UN-Habitat through funding support from the People of Japan.

The STDM establishes the people-to-land relationships to prove the tenurial relationship of the displaced families to the permanent houses and lot area of the house inside the resettlement site. This is one step towards addressing the challenge in post-war Marawi where comprehensive land and property records are yet to be established.


The current project database with digital maps was created through a participatory process where the displaced families, barangay officials and project partners, including the LGU Marawi, participated in transect walks, community mapping, validation and re-validation. UN-Habitat continues to promote the use of the STDM application not just through trainings but also through presentations of the project database to project partners including Task Force Bangon Marawi, Project Steering Committee, City Assessor’s Office, among others. Although the database was initially developed by UN-Habitat, managing and updating the database will be the responsibility of local partners when the project ends by December 2021.

According to Nabil C. Balindong, a NHA Community Relations Officer who attended the training,

“The STDM Training can be useful to NHA by making it easy for us to trace the location of the Marawi IDPs, particularly the housing beneficiaries. In just a few clicks, we will be able to have the bird’s eye-view of their identifying information. The housing beneficiaries will have an assurance that their profile and identifying information are secured.”

UN-Habitat seeks to build a total of 1,057 houses in five resettlement sites. Of these, 300 permanent houses are being built in two of NHA’s permanent shelter sites: 250 in Barangay. Kilala and 50 in Barangay Gadongan. The latter was handed over to 50 families 22 July 2021 together with 120 permanent houses in Darussalam Village in Barangay Dulay Proper, in partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC). A Certificate of House and Lot Award were issued to each of the 170 families, further strengthening their tenurial hold on their new permanent house and lot. Beyond this initial proof of ownership, UN-Habitat is further promoting the formalization of land rights by strongly encouraging its partners NHA and SHFC to issue individual lot titles to the families. This will help prevent residential land disputes from arising among and between home-partners in all five resettlement sites where the Rebuilding Marawi Project is constructing houses, and in the long-term, sustain the peace in the communities. (VAH/UN-Habitat)

Article was originally published on the Global Land Tool Network website.