Families run to occupy houses in Bulacan
CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE — Close to 550 families were given keys to their new homes at a social housing project here in Bulacan province on Saturday where they were relocated after being displaced from the waterways in Caloocan City.
They moved in despite the absence of an occupancy permit from the city government, which is waiting for the project developer to install emergency glass cabinets where fire extinguishers will be housed.
“What else would we wait for, before these houses are taken over by Kadamay?” said Girlyn Obenza, president of the Aniban para sa Lehitimong Pamumuhay Ligtas sa Sakuna (Alpas).
The Alpas president was referring to the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, which forcibly took over more than 5,000 idle houses at six government social housing sites in Pandi town, Bulacan, last year.
Obenza said she was also concerned about a P17-million fee allegedly required by the San Jose del Monte Water District for the installation of water service pipelines to their new homes.
Vice President Leni Robredo and Social Housing Finance Corp. turned over 26 medium-rise buildings in Barangay Muzon here to Obenza.
The project, located in Harmony 1 of Mountain View Subdivision, was the product of a “people’s plan,” a provision in the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (Republic Act No. 7279).
The provision allows poor families to collaborate with agencies in planning for social service projects, such as low-cost housing.
Robredo said her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, used to undertake people’s plans.
The project will benefit 546 families from 10 neighborhoods near the no-build zones along the waterway at Barangay Bagong Silang and Barangay Malaria in Caloocan.
Each three-story building has 21 units. The beneficiaries are required to pay P1,200 a month for 25-30 years.
The houses are located close to Caloocan, allowing the beneficiaries to continue working there.
Josephine Entrolizo, 53, who used to live in Malaria with her children, said she was grateful for their new home. Her husband is a construction worker.
Thelma Umbao, 48, will continue to make rugs, which she sells in Caloocan, despite moving to Bulacan. Her products are priced P1 higher in the city.
Delia Tumanao, 49, a part-time laundrywoman, also works in Caloocan.
Alpas pooled funds to help pay the P750,000 in capital gains tax of the property where the social housing project was built.
Each homeowner contributed P300 to P600 monthly to raise the money.
The initial 100 families, who moved in after the housing project was inaugurated in December last year, have been buying water from a private company for P35 a drum due to the absence of water services.
Electricity is available for new residents who pay P50 per kilowatt-hour through a submeter installation using the power line serving the housing project’s construction company.
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