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Shelter forum held at Philippines WLB site in Escalante City

by Claire Algarme

  The site was swarming with people, young and old, from various walks of life. All the locals flocked to Escalante City, a northern city in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental, on August 8, 2001, to witness luminaries doing carpentry jobs with homepartner families during Habitat for Humanity's World Leaders Build.

  A woman washes clothes on a roadside curb directly outside of her substandard house. (1999)

First daughter Luli Macapagal-Arroyo, with philanthropist and Habitat for Humanity Philippines Trustee Fernando Zobel de Ayala, led the youth, academe, businessmen, civic groups and government agencies in this global initiative to eliminate poverty housing.

More than 20 mayors from cities and municipalities of the island's two provinces, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, as well as from nearby Iloilo province on a neighboring island, showed their support for Habitat's mission. The house-building event for that day culminated with the Negros Shelter Forum hosted by Escalante Mayor Santiago Barcelona, Jr. Various housing agencies, including Habitat for Humanity, presented their ideas to the local government units (LGUs) for solving the problem of poverty housing.

The LGUs were interested in the Habitat concept; this led to a proposal of a housing summit between housing agencies and Habitat for Humanity to see how these organizations can collaborate in addressing the problem of homelessness in the province.

"We hope that with Habitat for Humanity with us, we will be able to help more Filipino families in need of simple, decent and affordable shelter," National Housing Authority Deputy General Manager Joseph Peter Sison said during the forum.

Claire Algarme is media relations coordinator for HFH Philippines

Video: WLB

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