The Manila City Council has approved the city government’s local shelter plan created by the Urban Settlements Office for low-income families and informal settlers living in critical zones.Last year, the Manila Bay Clean-Up Rehabilitation and Preservation Program’s Regional Inter-Agency Committee issued a “zero” grade against the local government after it found out that the previous administration did not have any local shelter plan.

Under the Local Shelter Plan, Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso said they would provide decent, affordable, disaster risk resilient and climate change-adaptive shelters for poor families in critical zones.“WIth the Local Shelter Plan, 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.“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,” the Mayor added.Manila Urban Settlements Office (USO) chief Atty. Cris Fernandez said the plan aims to acquire 191.05 hectares of land for development 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 includes residents living in households with “pending threats of demolition by 2020 to 2022,” she said.The USO chief added that the plan would also create a task force to prevent construction of new illegal structures in “no-build zones and danger areas.”“Providing adequate shelter facilities to the homeless and the underprivileged is the priority of Mayor Isko.

This shelter plan is proof of the resolute and collective efforts of the housing and urban settlements’ stakeholders to confront the housing issues and augment the city’s current shelter situation. With a shelter plan in place, Manileños can be rest assured that their immediate and long term shelter needs will be properly addressed on the basis of technical planning and equitable resource allocation,” Atty. Fernandez said.“Moreover, 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 decent homes,” she added. To recall, the Manila City government has already begun constructing three flagship socialized housing projects—Tondominium 1, Tondominium 2 and Binondominium.The construction began despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which Domagoso describes as a manifestation that “the local government will continue to be effective and efficient despite any calamity.” —JNL