Habitat for Humanity Philippines
Philippines News and Stories
Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has played an active role in providing decent, durable and affordable housing for low-income families. It started in the Cagayan Valley Region in the north and in Metro Manila. Through a network of project offices in rural and urban areas, HFH Philippines has built and repaired tens of thousands of homes. Habitat has also assisted more than 5,000 families displaced by typhoons, fires and landslides. In addition, HFH Philippines has completed over 300 classrooms.
Housing needs in the Philippines
Shelter needs are driven by the country’s growing population, increasing poverty and prevalence of disasters particularly typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. While the Philippines reduced poverty rates from 30 per cent in the early 1990s to 26.5 percent in 2009, the actual number of people living in poverty has increased over the past two decades. The latest available data from the National Statistical Coordination Board showed there were about 23 million people classed as “poor” in 2009, an increase of nearly one million from 2006. The global food and fuel price crises in 2007 and 2008, and the economic crisis that followed, are estimated to have pushed even more people into poverty, according to AusAID, the Australian government’s international aid agency. The prospects for the poorest parts in the country, in areas of Mindanao, are bighted by continuing armed conflict.
The Philippines is hit by frequent seismic activity and by around 20 tropical cyclones a year. For example, in September and October 2011, Typhoons Pedring (Nesat), Quiel (Nalgae), and Tropical Storm Ramon affected 700,000 people. In late 2009, the worst typhoon season in 40 years devastated Metro Manila and the country’s agricultural heartland. Local academics have argued that the government’s pro-poor housing legislation fails to deliver the quantity and quality of housing required. According to one set of research, the Philippines faces a housing shortage of more than one million units. The shortage of housing is likely to worsen, due to greater poverty and increasing urbanization, according to a March 2010 paper from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
How Habitat for Humanity works
HFH Philippines builds homes and transforms communities by partnering with families who help to build and pay toward the cost of their homes. Its urban renewal program involves building efficient and affordable medium-rise condominiumtype structures in areas where land is scarce and expensive. Each unit measures about 26 sq. m. in size with an additional 9 sq. m. in common areas.
Habitat responds to typhoons and other disasters by building latrines in evacuation centers, and also distributing shelter repair kits to some families as well as safe drinking water, hygiene and care kits to others. A typical shelter repair kit contains items such as flexiboards, galvanized iron sheets and nails. HFH Philippines also helps vulnerable families living in disaster-prone areas move to safer homes in new sites. In addition, HFH Philippines assists displaced families and former combatants through Peace Builds in Mindanao.
HFH Philippines is working with the government to help house low-income public servants. A pilot program in Quezon City, Metro Manila, will provide teachers and firefighters with adequate housing. The Department of Education estimated in 2009 that more than 120,000 public school teachers do not own homes and either rent or live with their relatives.
Habitat carries out its programs through affiliates and likeminded partners in the National Capital Region in Luzon island, Visayan islands and Mindanao island. HFH Philippines also extends the reach of its programs via a resource center located in Manila. The center has developed concrete interlocking block and modified hollow block technologies. Home partners can produce blocks on site, providing them with a source of livelihood and easy access to building materials. The center also works with New Zealand steel frame technology that is cost-efficient, volunteer-friendly and typhoon-resistant.
HFH Philippines has a large, active and multifaceted volunteer program, including a Habitat Youth Council. Corporations, organizations, and groups of individuals are organized through group build activities, called the Juan Builds. (A Filipino is also known colloquially as Juan dela Cruz; Juan also sounds like “one”). Students and young people take part in regular Youth Builds and other special events. The Philippines also hosts dozens of international work teams each year.
Several Habitat programs in the Philippines have been supported by multilateral funding agencies. For instance, the European Union funded multi-story residences in Taguig City, Metro Manila, while the European Commission provided a grant to house people displaced by conflict in the southern island of Mindanao.
- December 2011: Model, actor and HFH Philippines’ ambassador Derek Ramsay held a birthday build in Navotas city in Metro Manila for 150 of his fans and friends.
- November 2011: HFH Philippines distributed shelter repair kits, hygiene and care kits to more than 2,000 families in Bicol, Navotas City and Taytay who were affected by September 2011’s Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae. Earlier, Habitat distributed 1,000 care kits comprising items such as soap, diapers, mosquito repellent and biscuits to 975 typhoon-affected families who were living in an evacuation center in Navotas. HFHPhilippines is building 500 houses at a new site in the same city.
- August 2011: World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was introduced as a Habitat Hero Ambassador. A congressman, Manny is partnering with HFH Philippines for a housing project in Sarangani province which he represents.
- May 2011: More than 1,600 volunteers turned up for “1k for 1 Day” build in Calauan, Laguna province.
- March 2011: HFH Philippines introduced a lineup of ambassadors comprising Alexandra Eduque, chair of HFH Philippines’ Habitat Youth Council; television news anchor Arnold Clavio and broadcast journalist Karen Davila; model/actor Derek Ramsay; basketball star Chris Tiu; television host Kim Atienza. Theater actress Cris Villonco and actor/model Matteo Guidicelli are Youth Ambassadors while TV personality Kris Aquino is Nation-Builder Ambassador.
- February 2011: Over 100 volunteers worked at a Habitat site in Calauan, Laguna province. They included politicians, corporate leaders, media personalities, journalists and local bloggers.
- January 2011: With 1.8 million peso (US$30,800) funding from the Lighthouse Alliance, HFH Philippines installed common toilet and bath facilities as well as community kitchens in an elementary school in Marikina City. The retrofitted facilities are part of a pilot project called “Noah’s Ark” to strengthen floodprone communities and provide havens in case of disasters.
Population: 99,900,177 (July 2010 est.)
Area: 300,000 sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000 census)
Languages: Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects — Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan
Religions: Catholic 82.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesiani Kristo (Church of Christ in Tagalog) 2.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1% (2000 census)
Literacy: 92.6% (2000 census)
Urbanization: 49% of total population (2010)\
Population Living on US$1.25 a Day: 18% (2010)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 91% (2010)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 76% (2010)
Sources: CIA World Factbook, World Bank