Manila wants cut from Smokey housing project
MANILA, Philippines—The Manila city government now wants in on a controversial housing program in Tondo, according to an inquiry conducted by a city council ad hoc committee on the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project (SMDRP).
The SMDRP was a joint venture between the National Housing Authority and private developer R-II Builders Inc. (RBI), meant to develop a low-cost housing complex and industrial and commercial site from reclaimed portions of the Smokey Mountain dump and the Manila Bay Area.
In a report released last week, the committee, led by third district councilor Joel Chua, said “the city of Manila should be given its rightful share over the project or, at the very least, direct benefits which may arise from the utilization of the subject property for commercial gain.”
The inquiry was launched after city councilors recently received anonymous write-ups “questioning the reclamation done” by RBI and “casting doubts on the legality of the project’s implementation.”
But the council report said “the alleged scam need not be dealt into since it has no local significance.” The committee further quoted a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that said the project was “valid, legal and constitutional.”
The committee instead, focused on recommending that the NHA give the city government “a rightful share of the subject property,” based on a constitutional provision stating that local governments are entitled to “an equitable share in the proceeds of the utilization and development of the national wealth” within their territorial jurisdiction.
The committee also recommended that the NHA grant housing beneficiaries certificates of title after it was learned they were given only certificates of awards.