ARMM, Habitat to give some 900 displaced families homesBy Ayan Mellejor, Edwin Fernandez
DAVAO CITY — Some 900 families displaced by armed conflict and typhoon “Sendong” in five provinces and two cities of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will see the first foundation of their new houses after Ramadan.
This developed as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD — ARMM and the Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP) signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the core shelter program, dubbed “Bangsamoro Pabahay Project.”
The program has two design components: stilt houses for those living in areas around Liguasan Marsh and seas and houses with foundations attached to the ground for those in other areas.
The houses, funded under the national government’s Transition Investment Plan, will have a floor area of 22.2 square meters and will be built on resettlement areas identified by local government units, according to ARMM officials.
Each unit will cost about P70,000.
The MOA signing will also mark the beginning in the construction of 922 day care centers, which will benefit 46,500 children. Each day care center will cost about P617,000.
Pombaen Kader, DSWD-ARMM assistant secretary, said under the contract they entered into with Habitat, about 1,100 units of day-care centers and about the same number of houses will be constructed in all five ARMM provinces.
Maguindanao will have 620 day-care centers; Basilan, with 60; Lanao Sur, with 150; Sulu, with 70; Tawi-Tawi, with 175; and Marawi City with 25 units.
Each day-care center, she said, would cost between P617,000 and P670,000.
The houses and buildings will be built by the beneficiaries, who will be paid P174.00 per day per family for 10 days.
At the signing ceremony at the Grand Men Seng Hotel here Friday, the DSWD turned over P600 million to Habitat for the construction of the houses and the day-care centers.
ARMM Social Welfare Secretary Bainon Karon said each individual would also get an assistance amounting to P10,000.
Karon said the partnership with Habitat emerged after the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) resisted the presence of the Philippine Army’s Engineering Brigade in declared “peaceful areas” pending the conclusion of the peace negotiations with the Philippine government.
“We come in as a neutral force,” Margie Moran Floirendo, a member of Habitat, said.
The former Miss Universe said the Pabahay project would be Habitat’s contribution to the cause of peace by building houses in Mindanao areas under the “Peace build” program, which aims at breaking the cycle of poverty and assist displaced families and former combatants to ensure community stability and their attainment of their full human potentials in a climate of peace.
“We will continue this peace build efforts. This is a Herculean job for many people. Part of the post conflict efforts is the issue of equity. This project will build the economy of these poorest areas in Mindanao,” Floirendo said.
Floirendo highlighted the significance of the partnership by saying that “Habitat is a Christian ministry but building houses for the Moro people”.
Leonilo Escalada, Habitat chief operating officer, admitted that the safety and security of their people remains to be a great challenge in the implementation and completion of the project in the first quarter of 2013.
Floirendo said Habitat has made it clear that it would not enter a community without the assurance of safety.