Urban Poor sector presents their concerns to LGU

A housing community in Barangay Sinunuc, Zamboanga City may soon find their streets lighted. This after a local legislator committed to give them five solar-powered street lights during an activity hosted by Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc (ZABIDA) on September 16, 2022.

District 1 Representative Khymer Olaso was among those present in the activity dubbed as “Informal Settlers and Human Rights: The right to a decent housing, sustainable livelihood and basic services.”

Aside from the street lights, Olaso promised the Kinaiyahan housing community a new water pump to replace the old one.

The Kinaiyahan is part of the seven Home Owner’s and four Urban Poor Associations under the Panaghiusa sa mga Kabus sa Zamboanga (PAKAZA) Federation. They presented to the different line agencies two statements that they crafted in December 2021.

The first statement was a request for sustainable livelihood opportunities for their members, most of whom are still not able to recover from the ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a response, Ms.Jocelyn Wee, Administrator of the Regional Training Center of Technical Education Skills Development Authority listed the different scholarships and training programs TESDA is offering. Wee also offered that TESDA may also conduct the training in the housing communities, giving the residents more opportunity to participate without incurring transportation expenses.

Some of the housing associations have an existing livelihood such as rice cakes and other native delicacies. The Department of Trade and Industry offered to help them improve their products’ packaging and marketing.

PAKAZA President Perlita Tingson also presented their statement on socialized housing, saying that while a number of their members are already safely sheltered in the five housings sites of Katilingban sa Kalambuan Inc (KKI) and ZABIDA under the Convenio Project supported by AECID and Manos Unidas, there are still hundreds waiting to be relocated. The statement said that a lot of their members are still staying in depressed and hazard prone areas.

Joel Soldivillo from the Housing Management and Land Use Division of the Local Government revealed that there is a huge backlog in the City’s socialized housing program. However he advised the members of PAKAZA to register with their office so they can be listed and assessed as part of the pre-qualification process.

Marissa Aizon, Chairperson of the Zamboanga City Homeowner’s and People’s Organization Federation, Inc meanwhile said, there are 300 families currently waiting to be accommodated in the LGU’s housing program for this year. Other beneficiaries who have passed the pre-qualification process will have to wait until the next housing project.

On Wednesday, September 21, a meeting was held between the PAKAZA officers and Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe, where the group presented their statements and other concerns to the Local Chief Executive.

Most of their concerns centered on the supply of potable water and electricity, damaged flood control project along the riverside and improvement of the road network in the housing communities.

Mayor Dalipe took note of their concerns and has vowed to see how the LGU through the Zamboanga City Water District can connect water pipes in the housing sites that remain without water connection. Dalipe also expressed alarm over the damaged riprap that he says, needs to be addressed immediately.

Story: Queenie Casimiro/Human Rights Sectoral Agenda Advocacy Officer
Photos: Mona Amilbangsa/Communications Advocacy Staff

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