The School of Good Governance for Social Development (SGGSD) scholars together with the Homeowners Federation of Northville and Southville, Inc. (HFNSI) officers paid a visit to Vice President Jejomar Binay last August 25 at his office at the PNB Building in Pasay City. The visit was to present the position letter/paper drafted by the scholars detailing their concerns as a relocation community—a paper that was also presented to President Benigno Aquino III. The group also discussed other major concerns of relocation sites such as water, electricity, and livelihood.
The SGGSD is a project of Adamson University’s Integrated Community Extension Services (ICES) and its director, Fr. Nonong Fajardo, C.M. led the delegation. Other people present were HFNSI representatives Adelo Flores, Elizabeth De Leon, Joey Uy, and Nick Delos Santos; Neptali Manaog from SVI Cabuyao who is also SLSI President; SGGSD scholars Angelita Carpio and Robert Magracia; Esther Seguerra from Caritas Manila; and ICES staff members Perlie Alano and Ma. Anidel Sarayno. Flores, De Leon, and Uy are also SGGSD scholars.
The group discussed with Binay the contents of the position paper, and it became apparent that the new vice president of the country and recently appointed Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson was not yet fully aware of the problems surfacing in every relocation site project. It was understandable on his part though, since he is new to the post and must be given enough time to learn the ABCs of his agency.
The leaders/scholars also informed him about issues concerning government relocation projects that need immediate attention. For his part, Binay promised full cooperation and immediate response by setting another meeting with all government agencies involved in relocation.
Binay also expressed his belief that during their discussion of relocation issues, all the agencies involved must have been present. He further believes that the HUDCC is a coordinating office as the office’s name implies and must act as the “think tank” of all government agencies involved in housing projects, and that the SGGSD/HFNSI visitors must also seek the help of the local government unit (LGU). For this to happen, he will make an appeal to the local mayors to create a “Department of Shelter” in their respective units to ensure the welfare of those who will be relocated in the future. He also proposed to reactivate all Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) meetings for continued consultations and negotiations and to come up with a win-win solution for all parties involved.
The VP also said he will continue to advocate the “Bahay Para Sa Mahirap” project throughout his term as HUDCC Chair. For this he sought the support of the SGGSD/HFNSI group and in return the group promised to support and help him all the way.
The school is now preparing all the factual incidents and materials sought by Binay in preparation for another meeting with him and agencies concerned. The SGGSD, HFNSI, ICES, and other partner agencies are enthusiastic about the outcome of the meeting and made a promise of their continued involvement for dialogues and consultation. With report from Elizabeth de Leon, SGGSD scholar and leader, Towerville, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan