Davaos Homeless Face a Bleak 2007

Jan. 02, 2007

HOUSING HEADACHE. City Hall has problems meeting its housing targets to benefit poor Davaoenos, like these slum dwellers near Bankerohan. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

2006: Davao Today's Year-End Series

This year, more and more urban-poor dwellers in Davao City cannot be expected to build their own homes, as City Hall and the national government are hard put to raise funds for their housing programs. A more disturbing aspect of the problem, however, is that even if houses were made available to poor Filipinos, they dont have enough income to pay for these. In the meantime, the demolition of houses in slum areas continues, displacing hundreds of families.

Related Story: Philippines Is Top Housing Rights Violator

By Grace S. Uddin

DAVAO CITY — Erlinda Egido, a 51-year-old widow, works as a janitress at the City Council. Earning a measly 5,000 pesos a month, Erlinda, like most poor Filipinos, cannot afford a house of her own, something that she has been wishing for all these years.

In October, she found an opportunity to make her dream come true. That month, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) held a three-day fair in the hope of selling more than 60,000 foreclosed housing units nationwide, several of them in Davao City. The terms were tempting: affordable rates and longer payment period.

NO DEMOLITION. Urban poor dwellers in one of the city’s poor communities resist an attempt to demolish their homes. (davaotoday.com photo by barry ohaylan)

Erlinda had been encouraged by what Vice President Noli de Castro, who also chairs the HUDCC, earlier declared — that government employees like here were top priority in the sale of these foreclosed properties.

“We do not have our own house so we’re hoping to avail ourselves of a housing unit under this program,” said Erlinda, who still lives with her mother in a house on a 50-square-meter lot they are also sharing a younger brother in SIR, Matina. Erlina said she didn’t mind setting aside a huge part of her 5,000-peso monthly pay for the house.

The cheapest price being sold at the fair cost 123,700 pesos and is payable for up 15 years. Thats a lot of money but Erlinda said she was willing to work for it.

Elena Bariquit, a 38-year-old mother of six who earns a living by going from house to house in her neighborhood in Madapo Riverside offering massages, is not as lucky. Its not just the meager income, which is barely enough for her familys daily sustenance — her home is also going to be demolished, along with 120 other houses in her village.

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