The national and local government units should make Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s Disiplina Village a model in relocating informal settler families (ISFs) living in danger zones, a veteran lawmaker said.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alberto Benitez said taking cues at how Valenzuela City managed to come up with the biggest government-subsidized housing community can improve affordable housing program in the country.
Benitez, chairman of House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said Valenzuela City’s Disiplina Village has the essential components for a decent yet affordable housing program during a House inquiry on the government’s social housing program.
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“Disciplina Village encompasses all the necessary element for an ideal in-city relocation of ISFs, particularly those living in designated danger zones,” Benitez said.
“Aside from providing low-cost housing, the local government of Valenzuela City also considered community logistics by putting key establishments nearby to make the site relevant to social development,” he added.
While he was still mayor of Valenzuela City in 2012, Gatchalian launched the Disiplina Village to help relocate poor families living in danger-prone areas, including settlements near riverbanks, esteros, waterways, under the bridges, sideways, and aqueducts.
Disiplina Village is a condominium type of housing project of Valenzuela City government with its units being rented out to poor constituents for as low as P300 monthly, which enables them to prioritize spending for other basic necessities like food and education.
In the public hearing, Gatchalian emphasized that putting ISFs in a strategic location is crucial as it will lead newly-relocated residents to social development for housing projects to become successful like the Disciplina Village.
Gatchalian, who is a vice chair of the committee on Housing and Urban Development, also advised other LGUs to aggressively expropriate lands to ensure that ISF can sustain their livelihood in the designated area of relocation.
“Local governments should consider housing programs a long-term investment for economic prosperity because if you give an individual a proper shelter, they can thrive, prosper and contribute to the betterment of society,” Gatchalian said.
“This is why choosing a location fit for urban development is crucial in relocation. LGUs also should be more aggressive in buying more lands. Kung alam nilang suitable for living and development ‘yung isang lugar, dapat bilhin na nila,” he said.
Disiplina Village is the first LGU-initiated resettlement project and currently the biggest in-city low-rise building relocation program in the Philippines based on a five-year plan to relocate all ISFs in Valenzuela City’s waterways,
The project was opened in a 1.9-hectare land at Barangay Ugong in 2012 and gave shelter with an affordable monthly rent of P300 to P944 families that were displaced by Typhoon Ondoy and those families living along Tullahan River, Polo River and Meycauayan River.
Last year, the local government of Valenzuela City, started the construction of another Disiplina Village that will be composed of 85 low-rise buildings on an 11-hectare piece of land in Barangay Bignay to accommodate 3,240 ISFs or around 15,000 individuals.
The Disiplina Village has provisions for a three-story multipurpose building that houses a fire station, police community precinct, and a health station. The plan has also reserved space for an elementary school and a high school.
The relocation site also have its own jeepney terminal and materials recovery facility.
Disiplina Village is part of President Aquino’s Five-Year In-city Resettlement Program that aims to transfer to relocation sites 104,000 ISFs from riversides and creeks in the National Capital Region. (Tim Alcantara)