UP-ALL : Urban Poor Alliance (Pilipinas)

Online Space for Housing and Land Rights Advocates

QC Task Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement

Posted by urbanpooralliance on September 8, 2007

This is the final version of the concept paper on the Task Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement submitted by civil society stakeholders led by COM, ULAP and Philssa to the office of then Quezon City acting mayor Herbert Bautista. The document proved to be effective in the acquiring a one month moratorium on the demolition of homes of informal settlers living along river banks.

Quezon City Task for Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement

(Draft Concept Note 2)

A. Rationale

The Right to Decent Shelter is among the inalienable rights identified by both national and international referential documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Philippine Constitution. Housing is crucial in the exercise of other human rights and access to various opportunities for it is this place where individuals and families build their visions; enhance relationships; nurture their mind and bodies; and hone their resources, among others. Housing is thus integral in ensuring the social capital needed in nation-building.

Unfortunately the right to decent shelter has not been fully exercised for many Filipinos, especially the urban poor and informal settlers. In the Philippines alone, nearly half of the population live on US$ 2 dollars a day, further driving urban and overseas migration. Numbers of the urban poor is likewise on the rise: It is estimated that 48 percent of Metro Manila consists of informal settlers, many of whom live along rivers, tributaries and water ways.

The government intends to clear the rivers, tributaries and waterways of Metro Manila, including Quezon City, of informal settlements and structures, as part of their flood control strategies.

The Quezon City government, with its vision that all shall win, is creating a task force to ensure that there shall be no “losers’ in these clearing operations: that demolitions and evictions shall be done in a just, humane and peaceful manner; that the displaced families shall be given appropriate, decent and affordable resettlement; and that the riverside urban poor communities shall be developed in participatory, inclusive and transformative process.

B. Title

The task force shall be called the Quezon City Task Force on Riverside Housing and Development.

C. Declaration of Policy (Guiding Principle)

The local government of Quezon City recognises that ownership of decent shelter is essential in the exercise of human rights, governance and citizenship, as stipulated in the following referential documents, among many others:

  1. United Nations documents on Housing Rights

– Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (Art. 1, 2, 25)

– International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) (Art. 2,3,11)

– Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements (1996)

– Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) (Art. 8.1)

– Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) (Art. 14)

– Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975) (Art. 9)

– International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Damilies (1990) (Art. 43)

– Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) (Art. 5e)

  1. The Philippine Constitution, particularly provisions on

      • Bill of Rights

      • Social Justice (Art 13)

  1. Republic Act 7279 otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992

It is noteworthy to quote the wisdom of President Ramon Magsaysay in saying that “those who have less in life should have more in law”.

The Philippine constitution states that: “Urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwelling demolished, except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner. No resettlement of urban or rural dwellers shall be undertaken without adequate consultation with them and the communities where they are to be relocated” (Art 13, Sec 10).

The Quezon City government has also committed itself in eradicating urban blight as a prerequisite for the city’s development and growth. As the 2007 State of the City Address of Hon. Feliciano Belmonte states, “The festering areas of neglect and decay…are unhealthy and precarious for the families who choose to live in them. Clearly, resettlement options must be established for the sake of these poor families and for the sake of the rest of the City”

D. Participation of Civil Society

The Task Force shall maximise the participation of civil society organizations.

Civil society organisations are seen as a partner in governance and development as they enrich processes on decision-making, programme design, and direct support, among others. CSOs are instrumental in ensuring the public interest, balancing goals towards commercial competitiveness with the infusion of a rights-based and development orientation.

Pursuant to Article 13, Section 15 of the Philippine Constitution, Article 3, and Sections 34 to 36 of RA 71 60 or the Local Government Code, the Task Force includes in its membership civil society organisations, especially those directly working on urban poor communities and other cross cutting concerns such as women and gender, children, the elderly, education, health, labor and employment, among others.

C. Role, Responsibilities and Composition of the Task Force

  1. Role of the Task Force

The Task Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement shall plan, coordinate and monitor the efforts and activities to address the housing and resttlement issues of the urban poor living along the rivers, tributies and other waterways of Quezon City.

  1. Responsibilities of the Task Force

The Task Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement shall:

    1. Conduct consultations and dialogues with the community and other stakeholders to facilitate effective flow of information and communication among all affected and concerned parties;

    2. Ensure that the demolitions and evictions carried out in the city’s riverside communities comply with the provisions of the Urban Development and Housing Act;

    3. Identify site/s, establish systems, and monitor operation of staging areas for the families affected by the demolition and eviction being conducted in the rivers, tributaries and waterways of Quezon City, following the guidelines in Annex A;

    4. Facilitate the permanent resettlement of the qualified families affected by demolitions and evictions in the rivers, tributaries and waterways of Quezon City, following the minimum standards and recommended process in Annex B and C;

    5. Facilitate on-site development of the riverside urban poor communities beyond the 3-meter water easement; and

    6. Ensure that the rights and needs of women, childrem, elderly and the differently-abled are addressed at all times in all the plans and activities.

  1. Composition of the Task Force

The Task Force for Riverside Housing and Resettlement shall be composed of:

    1. The Mayor of Quezon City, as Chairman

    2. The Vice-mayor of Quezon City, as Vice-Chairman

    3. The Chairperson of the Sangguniang Panglunsod Committee on Housing

    4. The Head of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO)

    5. The Head of the Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO)

    6. The Head of the Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (HURA)

    7. Representative from the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP)

    8. Representative from the National Housing Authority (NHA)

    9. Representative from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

    10. Representative from the Urban Poor sector

    11. Representative from the Non-Government Organizations (NGO) working with the Urban Poor sector

    12. Representative from Other Stakeholders and Partners (Church, Academe, Civic Organizations, Private Sector)

D. Roles and Responsibilities of the Various Stakeholders

  1. The Local Government of Quezon City

The Local Government of Quezon City, with its offices and departments, shall:

    • Facilitate community consultations and dialogues on the issues and concerns related with the clearing operations in rivers and waterways of Quezon City;

    • Monitor demolition and evictions in Quezon City to ensure compliance with UDHA provisions;

    • Identify appropriate sites for the staging areas;

    • Make policies and guidelines on the establishment and management of the staging areas;

    • Supervise operation of the staging areas;

    • Coordinate the permanent resettlement of the families affected by the demolitions and evictions, so that the process will be orderly, prompt, and with minimal inconvenience for the affected families

    • Coordinate the on-site development of the riverside urban poor communities beyond the 3-meter water easement

  1. The National Government Agencies

Three national government agencies shall be involved in the plans and activities of the Task Force: The Metropolitan Manila Development Agency (MMDA), the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP)

    1. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

The Metropoliotan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shall:

      • Participate in the community consultations and dialogues of the Task Force;

      • Coordinate its clearing operations in the rivers and waterways of Quezn City with the Task Force;

      • Conduct their demolition and eviction activities in accordance with the provisions of UDHA; and

      • Assist in other plans and activities of the Task Force, as they are willing and able.

    1. The National Housing Authority (NHA)

The National Housing Authority (NHA) shall:

      • Identify resttlement sites available for the displaced families;

      • Ensure that the resettlement sites are ready and conforms with the minimum standard for resettlement;

      • Check the qualifications of the displaced families;

      • Facilitate the orderly and prompt relocation of the displaced families; and

      • Assist in the other plans and activities of Task Force, as they are willing and able.

    1. The Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP)

The Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor (PCUP) shall:

      • Assist in the community consultations and dialogues of the Task Force;

      • Monitor demolition and evictions in Quezon City and ensure their compliance with UDHA provisions; and

      • Assist in the other plans and activities of Task Force, as they are willing and able.

  1. The NGOs and Other Civil Society Groups

The NGOs and other Civil Society Groups shall:

      • Assist in the community consultations and dialogues of the Task Force;

      • Monitor demolition and evictions in Quezon City and ensure their compliance with UDHA provisions;

      • Assist in the identification of sites, esteblishment of systems and monitoring of operations of the staging areas for the displaced families;

      • Assist in the permanent resettlement of the families affected by the demolitions and evictions, so that the process will be orderly, prompt, and with minimal inconvenience for the affected families

      • Assist in the on-site development of the riverside urban poor communities beyond the 3-meter water easement; and

      • Assist in the other plans and activities of Task Force, as they are willing and able

  1. The Urban Poor Community Groups

The Urban Poor Community Groups shall:

      • Participate in the community consultations and dialogues of the Task Force;

      • Monitor demolition and evictions in Quezon City and ensure their compliance with UDHA provisions;

      • Assist in the identification of sites, esteblishment of systems and monitoring of operations of the staging areas for the displaced families;

      • Assist in the permanent resettlement of the families affected by the demolitions and evictions, so that the process will be orderly, prompt, and with minimal inconvenience for the affected families

      • Assist in the on-site development of the riverside urban poor communities beyond the 3-meter water easement; and

      • Assist in the other plans and activities of Task Force, as they are willing and able

Annex A : Establishment and Management of Staging Area

Definition

A staging area serves as a temporary shelter for families affected by demolitions prior to their relocation and resettlement to a permanent residence.

Selection and Management of Staging Area/s

The staging area must be provided by the local government unit in close coordination with national agencies, city divisions, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.

Albeit the staging area is a transient place, it must nonetheless follow humane and acceptable standards of livability and account for other important considerations.

    1. The staging area/s must be identified in consultation with affected communities.

    1. The must be within the barangay. Only when no government facility or vacant lots become available for this purpose can the LGU explore other places within the district.

    1. Transfers of both families and their belongings, including the salvaged housing materials must be provided by the LGU.

    1. There must be provision for temporary shelter that is weather-proofed and have good air ventillation.

    1. Each family must be allocated with a minimum of 15 sq meters to ensure their privacy and security. Dividers or tents must be provided to every family.

    1. Provision of basic services (water, electricity) must be ensured.

    1. There shall be provisions for toilet / latrines and bathing areas for men and women.

    1. There may be a common area for cooking and meals.

    1. A space and system of storage must also be established to ensure the security of alvaged housing materials which the families would reuse and repurpose.

    1. There should be a system for the orderly collection and management of garbage and waste.

    1. The LGU shall also ensure that health, sanitation and other wellness considerations are given attention to avoid diseases and other problems.

    1. The LGU shall also establish that systems for the maintenance of peace and order.

    1. In making the ground plan and establishing the systems and guidelines, special considerations must be given to the rights and needs of women, children, the elderly and differently-abled.

Duration

The displaced families shall stay in the staging area until provision for their resettlement to a permanent residence has been made.

Annex B: Process of Resettlement

The resettlement shall have three (3) important phases and the Task Force shall plan and coordinate activities in all phases. Other stakeholders such as CSOs and the private sector must be encouraged to participate and contribute in all plan and activities in all phases.

Pre-resettlement

      1. The Task Force shall identify possible sites for resettlement.

        • Priority shall be in-city sites.

        • Next should be nearly resttlement sites of NHA.

      1. The task Force shall identify qualified beneficiaries from the displaced families.

        • There shall a clear criteria.

        • There shall be a standard data form for all the concerned agencies.

        • There shall be a mechanism for arbitration for questions on the selection of beneficiaries.

        • No one should be discriminated against on the basis of sex/ gender, age, and disability.

      1. There will be continuous consultation and participatory processes.

        • General assemblies should be organized at the barangay level with representatives from concerned agencies (LGU, NHA, barangay) and options, including ground plans for the resettlement sites must be presented

        • Trippings must be organised by the LGU and the NHA for the affected families on weekends

        • Alternative social housing programmes and designs such as community mortgage programme and medium rise building must be explored. Any proposed payment as well as taxation schemes must be exceptional by default (i.e. discounted), taking into account the meagre income of affected communities. Similarly affected communities must be exempted from strict requirements such as the acquisition of building permits, particularly in cases where minimal housing and financial support are given to them.

      1. The Task Force shall ensure that the resettlement sites comply with the Minimum Standard for Resettlement, as stated in Annex C.

Actual Resettlement

  1. The Task Force shall ensure that the transfer to the resettlement shall be done in a date and time that is agreeable to all parties.

  1. The Task Force shall facilitate the orderly and safe transport of the families for resettlement.

  1. The Task Force shall provide food packages and other relocation support (such as medical kits and health personnel).

  1. The rights and needs of women, children, elderly and differently-abled should be taken into account in all plans and activities.

Post-Resettlement

  1. The Task Force shall ensure the continuous development of the facilities and services in the resttlement sites.

  1. The Task Force shall monitor the condition of the settlers as well as the operation of any approved housing and payment schemes.

Annex C: Minimum Standards for Resettlement

By the Urban Poor Alliance (UP-ALL) and Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA) , developed from the study of John J. Caroll Institute for Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI)

Four major aspects must be considered in providing relocation sites for displaced communities: Site Selection, Social Preparation, Housing and Site Development, and Basic Services.

Site Selection

  • Locations within municipalities and cities must first be considered as possible relocation sites. Only when all possibilities are explored that near city relocation be considered.

  • Resettlement sites must be so geographically sound and away from health and environmental hazards.

  • Resettlement must also be convenient for wage workers. In fact, the impact of transportation costs for wagers must be one of the criteria in selecting a relocation site

Social Preparation

  • General assemblies should be organized at the barangay level with representatives from concerned agencies (LGU, NHA, barangay) present

  • Enough time should be given between the scheduled demolition/relocation and the consultation with families

  • Ideal: 6 months preparation & demolition during summer.

  • Options for livelihood & employment in & near the resettlement site should also be discussed

  • Affected families must be represented in committees form

  • Receiving LGUs should be included in the planning & initial stages of the resettlement process

  • Sending LGUs should give financial support to families moving out of their jurisdiction

  • “Trippings” should be continued

Housing Site and Development

  • Ideal: ready-to-occupy housing unit (4 walls, roof, door, functioning toilet with septic tank) is available upon transfer

  • Families must be allowed to stay in their place of origin if they will build their own houses; making people live in tents should be avoided

  • Roads to & within the resettlement site must be passable

  • Drainage must be functioning

  • Solid waste/garbage in the site must be regularly collected

Basic Services

Water and Electricity

  • Clear timeframe must be given to families to meet the requirements to have the service connected; this must be indicated in a MOA with service providers (Meralco, Manila Water/MWSS)

  • Electricity connection should come first as most water connections need electricity to function (i.e., water pumps)

  • It is preferred that the NHA includes this in their budget & should be included in the computation of the families’ monthly amortization

  • It is suggested that 70% of the cost of having the electricity connected be shouldered by the developer.

  • Meralco posts with transformers should be installed & “ready for use” in the relocation sites

  • Water should be potable

Education

  • New school buildings/classrooms should have been built & ready to accommodate additional students from the relocated families at the time of relocation

  • Aim for the ideal teacher-student ratio of 1: 40

Health

  • One (1) health center for each relocation site with at least one (1) doctor, one (1) midwife, and trained health workers

Transportation

  • Creation of a transportation route/ system, otherwise cities must provide free shuttle service

Livelihood

  • Plans for livelihood should be supported by corresponding budgets

  • Livelihood programs must go beyond training & must be able to supply credit

  • A livelihood credit facility, ready to be accessed by qualified families; rules for accessing the facility must be made known prior to relocation

  • Tap & contact MFIs committed to extending credit to the poor

  • It has to be ensured that mechanisms for job creation on site must engender permanent and secure employment

  • Allocate funds/ provide assistance to affected families for the inconvenience/ disturbance resulting to their displacement

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