Philippines -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
The daughter of a Habitat homeowner stands in front of her new house in Bacolod.
Leveraging Habitat Resource Centers: Volunteer-friendly technology helps build permanent row houses in 15 days.
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THE PHILIPPINES ARCHIPELAGO encompasses a thriving economy and a multitude of vibrant cultures. It is also one of the world’s most urbanized places with just over half of its population living in cities. The capital Manila alone has a population of more than 10 million people, putting it in the league of Asia’s megacities.
While poverty remains largely a rural phenomenon, it is shifting, along with the overall population, from rural to urban areas. Currently, about 30 per cent of the poor live in urban areas but by 2025, the poor will comprise more than half of the urban dwellers.
People who live in urban areas are confronted with the high cost of land, which the World Bank considers to be among the greatest impediments to improved housing conditions. It is not surprising that in Metro Manila, nearly 60 per cent of its residents are squatters who often live on low-lying floodplains, precarious slopes, exposed riverbanks and within highly toxic zones close to highways and railroads. Those living in squatter communities also face fire hazards.
Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has been playing an active role in providing housing for families in need. It started in Metro Manila and is now one of the largest Habitat programs in the region. Through a network of affiliates and project offices in rural and urban areas, HFH Philippines has completed more than 17,000 houses to date. Habitat also builds schools and community centers in partnerships to transform lives beyond shelter.
HFH Philippines uses mainly the Building in Stages housing microfinance model which provides for the construction of core houses, each measuring 20-24 sq. m. Once the initial mortgages have been paid, home partners can add to their core houses. Habitat also constructs multi-story residences, housing several families, to optimize the use of limited land and to counter high land costs in the cities. Each unit in the multi-story residences measures about 26 sq. m. in size with an additional 9 sq. m. in common areas.
To eliminate poverty housing in the Philippines, Habitat works with local governmental partners in Manila, Taguig City and Sorsogon as well as non-governmental organizations such as World Vision, Compassion International and the Philippines National Red Cross. HFH Philippines also taps on the expertise of microfinance partners such as the local Center for Community Transformation to extend its reach. In addition, corporate partners such as global financial services group ING, Philippine oil giant Petron and local property developer Ayala Land support Habitat by contributing resources and sending their staff for builds.
The Habitat programs in the Philippines have also received attention from multi-lateral funding agencies. The European Union has funded multi-story residences in Taguig City, Metro Manila; the European Commission gave a grant to house people displaced by conflict in Mindanao; and the Asian Development Bank supported a resettlement project for families living along railway tracks in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila.
The Philippines’ Habitat Resource Center (HRC) is known for developing the concrete interlocking block technology which lowers the cost of construction. Home partners can produce the blocks on site, giving them a source of building materials as well as means of livelihood. The HRC also came up with proven volunteer-friendly technology such as the lightweight steel frame technology to build permanent new row houses in as little as 15 days.
Habitat undertook its first disaster response project at the BASECO Bagong Buhay community, in the port area of Manila, in 2004. It helped to build 1,000 homes for informal settlers living in a shanty town that was badly damaged by a fire in April 2004. Subsequently, Habitat lent its expertise to repair homes and school classrooms in other disaster-struck areas such as Southern Leyte and the Bicol region.
HFH Philippines has a large and active volunteer program. It has hosted dozens of international work teams, as well as mobilizing local church congregations and tens of thousands of local students and youngsters for regular “Builds on Faith” and “Youth Builds”, and other special events such as “Peace Builds” with Muslims in the troubled south.
In 1999, HFH Philippines hosted the Jimmy Carter Work Project that brought together over 14,000 volunteers from all over the world.
• In June 2007, HFH Philippines completed repairs of more than 1,600 homes and 40 school classrooms in the typhoon-struck Bicol region. Habitat aims to build some 800 new houses in the region under a regular program.
• Habitat also completed community centers funded by the local Angelo King Foundation at three Peace Build sites in Mindanao in mid-2007.
• Habitat celebrated the reaching of 1,000th house built in the BASECO Bagong Buhay community in Manila in March 2007.
• In March 2007, HFH Philippines marked the completion of the first phase of a 72-unit multi-story residence project in Taguig City.
• HFH Philippines continues to assist families in Southern Leyte, affected by mudslides in February 2006, with nearly 400 housing units and a school building constructed.
• About 100 young people marched to the site of the former BASECO shipyard in central Manila to work on 30 houses under HFH Philippines Youth Blitz Build in April 2005.
• HFH Philippines partnered with the local authorities to build row houses for 427 families in Muntinlupa city, Metro Manila, in 2005. The project to resettle informal settlers living along railway tracks was supported by a US$1 million grant from the Asian Development Bank’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.
Population: 91.1 million (July 2007 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%, others 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: Roman Catholic 80.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo (Church of Christ in Tagalog) 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christians 4.5%, others 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, (2000 census)