THE Office of Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez in Negros Occidental initiated an inventory of informal settler families (ISFs) and a review of the various housing programs of local government units (LGUs) under his jurisdiction.
Marie June Pavillar Castro, district coordinator for housing concerns, said the initial inventory showed almost 50,000 informal settler families in the cities of Victorias, Silay, Talisay and the municipalities of E.B. Magalona and Murcia.
Castro is working closely with the LGUs to assist in fast tracking their housing programs and other related concerns.
The listing and mapping of ISFs is expected to continue to generate an accurate data-baseline for appropriate interventions and provide relevant inputs to policy initiatives to address the housing backlog and other issues.
The lawmaker’s office said Benitez, chairman of House committee on housing and urban development, worked with the National Housing Authority and Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca to facilitate the implementation of the permanent housing project in Barangay 13 for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
So far, more than 300 units are occupied by ISFs out of the total target 2,321 houses.
Victorias housing officer Primilo Solinap has reported that 1,300 ISFs will soon benefit from the free patent program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Villa Miranda.
E.B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon reported five priority areas as sites for relocation and housing projects, including Barangays Mantaangan, Gahit, Nanca, Poblacion 3 and Sto. Niño for those affected by Typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters.
Moreover, Castro also identified ISFs who have organized themselves into homeowners associations seeking assistance, and conducted consultative meetings with these groups. Among these are the Community Association of Barangay Zone IV of Talisay, the Community Association of Purok Kapayas, and Barangay Zone IV of Murcia.
Benitez’s office also established links with the NHA, Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC), and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.
Along with the district office, Castro is conducting various fora to assist the SHFC advocacy on promoting the Community Mortgage Program and the Local Community Mortgage Program.
There is also an ongoing coordination with the Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit housing organization whose vision is to provide decent shelter for underprivileged informal settlers.
Castro said Habitat plans a housing project in the province, using available indigenous materials. (PR)