AdChoiceTV News — Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso signed Wednesday the deed of absolute sale for the purchase of a P111-million private lot for the city government’s socialized housing program.
In a statement sent to reporters, the Manila City public information office said that the 6,003-square meter private lot at Pasigline in Sta. Ana will be used for the city’s Land for the Landless program for some 600 low-income informal settlers and homeless families.
He also stressed that the local government is committed to providing ample and livable spaces for Manileños to enjoy a more decent urban living in the nation’s capital.
“We will not stop until we have safe and decent communities that every Manileño will be proud of,” Domagoso said.
As it stands, thousands of Metro Manila’s urban poor live in the densely-populated Tondo and Baseco districts of Manila City.
Recent surveys by the Social Weather Stations have found that as some 5.2 million families have experienced involuntary hunger and that as much as 79% of adult Filipinos felt that their quality of life has worsened. The pollster found that 45.5% became jobless over the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Nobody’s rich or poor’
With Metro Manila approaching a year under community quarantine—good for the longest coronavirus-induced lockdown in the world—urban poor groups continue to sound the alarm on the coronavirus situation in their communities and called for urgent measures for poor Filipinos, 17.7 million of whom live in poverty.
“This is the modern times, with a modern government, that we can at least make you feel that there is no politician here. The government turned to you because the Manila government shows concern for everyone,” Domagoso said in his statement in mixed Filipino and English.
“Nobody’s rich or poor in Manila. Everyone is equal,” he also said.
Most urban poor communities have been forced to rely on themselves and their own community-initiated projects to get by, though others have not been lucky enough to find opportunities to assert self-determination.
Bernadette Sabalza, President of Samahang Magkakapitbahay sa Slip-0, an urban poor community in Tondo, Manila, said that the community’s residents have been forced to go to piers and wet markets scavenge for vegetables and fruits that went unsold amid the pandemic.
The Slip Zero community, composed of 141 families in Philippine Ports Authority Compound in Tondo, Manila, has been advocating for on-site or in-city housing since 2002. Families living in the area have long been threatened with eviction and seeking government aid for on-site housing development instead of relocation to places where they neither have employment nor access to basic social services.
“We don’t want to depend on the government for our daily needs. However, this pandemic and lockdown have brought us deeper suffering and hopelessness,” she said in an exclusive statement sent to AdChoiceTV News in an earlier story.
“We never experienced this before lockdown. Sometimes when I go around the community, I cannot help but cry. The next morning, I and the leaders go again to Divisoria to pick up any food that we can get to share with the community. That is all we can do to survive. We might not have die of COVID, but we thought we could have died when there is no more food to scavenge.” — via Albert Rovic Tan