Estrada awards lands to underprivileged families

The Daily Tribune | Written by Pat C. Santos | Mar. 19, 2016

Crediting his success as an actor and public servant to the support given to him by the masses, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada continues giving back to the poor by awarding lands  to underprivileged families in Manila under his “Land for the Landless” program.

In simple ceremonies at the city hall the other day, March 17, Estrada distributed land certificates to 65 families, the latest batch of beneficiaries of the socialized housing program he started in 2013.
Of the 65 families, 53 were given lots at Villafojas Estate located along Villafojas Street in Tondo.
“Alam po ninyo, sa tinagal-tagal ko sa public service, ako po’y walang ibang hangarin kung hindi ang makatulong sa masang Filipino,” Estrada said. “Dahil kung hindi dahil sa kanila, wala ring Erap na humaharap sa inyo ngayon.”
“Lagi ko ngang sinasabi, mabubuhay mamamatay si Erap, hindi makakabayad ng utang na loob sa mga mahihirap,” he added.
Describing himself as a legitimate Manileño, having been born in the former slums of Tondo, Estrada remembered the “Asiong Salonga” character he popularly portrayed in the iconic 1961 movie, a defender of the poor and of the oppressed.
“Alam din naman ninyo na si Erap, lehitimong Manilenyo. Dito ako pinanganak. Ang role ko nga bilang ‘Asiong Salonga’ ang nagbigay-daan para makilala ako sa buong Pilipinas,” he recalled.
When he entered politics, Estrada said the Filipino masses continued to support him.
“Kaya naman patuloy kong sinisikap na mabigyan sila ng mas maganda at maayos na buhay,” he added.
Estrada introduced the Land for the Landless program after assuming office in 2013; the first batch of 78 families was given their own lands in September that year, followed by 57 more in April 2014, and another 40 in February last year.
Twenty-nine more families were awarded lots last June.
The housing program is based on City Tenants and Security Committee Resolution No. 16-A. The city government bought the private properties that were distributed to qualified applicants.
Under the project, the awardees are given 30 years to pay for the lots at affordable rates. Within two years from the awarding of the lot, the beneficiaries should occupy the area and vacate the premises not included in the award.
Housing for the poor has been one of Estrada’s top priorities. Only last month, he led the ground-breaking ceremonies for the P44.5-million housing project in Sitio Dubai, Baseco Compound which will benefit homeless families in the area.
“Hindi na po kayo mangangamba sa seguridad ng inyong mga tirahan, lalo’t umaabot ng 30 taon ang palugit na ibibigay sa inyo para magbayad. Sana’y ito na nga ang unang hakbang para inyo at sa inyong mga pamilya, tungo sa isang higit na masagana at maligayang buhay,” Estrada told the beaming crowd of land beneficiaries.