Friday, March 18, 2011

MANILA ESTEROS BRIEFING PAPER

Data by Urban Poor Associates

Background

Five Esteros surrounding Malacanang are due for immediate demolition, namely, San Miguel, San Sebastian, Quiapo, Uli-Uli and Aviles, according to oral or written notices given the people. This is to prevent devastation, such as, was wrought by Typhoon Ondoy, which submerged a big portion of Metro Manila in 2009. President Noynoy Aquino is concerned about saving lives when calamities happen. However the residents of these esteros who have lived long years in the area, when interviewed, denied they have experienced damaging loss of lives and properties, even during Typhoon Ondoy.

If floods hit Manila, the esteros are not the only areas endangered; no area will be spared, according to the people. What is needed, they said, are precautionary measures to evacuate the residents in areas prone to flooding immediately. Round the clock advisory of rainfall by PAG-ASA can be instituted, and an immediate warning can be given when the water from the dams is going to be released. A ready site for evacuation is needed. These are the people’s suggested solutions. For the estero residents, removing them and transferring them to a distant place outside their work area is not an option that will help them survive socially and economically. From the interviews the following are cited as the compelling reasons to allow them to stay where they are.

First are the social reasons. The older generation of estero settlers was born on the esteros and they have brought up their families there. So, too, the second generation who have just begun their married lives. For all of them the estero has provided the safety nets they needed both financially and emotionally. Social relations have been established among them that help them understand one another. In times of emergencies, such as, sickness, accidents, family problems, deaths, security issues, etc. the neighbors are the first to offer help. Their proximity to religious and charity institutions, schools, hospitals, markets, and transportation facilities, also helps them to survive the hardship of poverty by offering quick access to these institutions. Their ability to earn a living is the most important factor cited in explaining why they have to stay in the city. The tables below show what people do for work and where they do it, and how much they earn.

Estero de Quiapo, 118 Households

N.B. We interviewed all 118 families. Percentages for “Place of Work” and “Total Income” total 100%. However, under “Source of Income” some respondents who didn’t work told the interviewer they didn’t work, but didn’t add that their husbands or others in the family worked. In Estero de Quiapo only 70.6% of respondents reported on their “source of income” or that of others in the family. This situation is repeated in the other esteros.

Source of Income

Total Monthly Income

Place of Work

24.5 % are vending or peddling (newspapers, cigarettes, food items, DVDs, accessories, etc

7.8% are in the service sector (as service crews, clerks, sales representative, etc.)

4.9% are in the transport sector (driver-operators of different jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs, heavy equipments, delivery vehicles, etc.)

13.2% are skilled workers

5.4% are unskilled workers

2.9% are in security sector (security guards, bouncers, barangay tanod, etc.)

1.0% are professionals (police, military, teacher, nurse, medical technologist, engineer, etc.)

1.5% are in government (barangay captain, kagawad, barangay tanod, etc.)

2.0% are OFWs

5.9% are pensioners

1.5% other jobs

Php 0-3,000

22%

51.7% are working within their community/barangay

23.8% are working outside their community but still within the city

18.9% are working outside the city of Manila but still within Metro Manila

2.1% outside Metro Manila/other provinces

3.5% outside of the country

3,001-6,000

31.4%

6,001-9,000

22%

9,001-12,000

11%

12,001-15,000

3.4%

15,001-18,000

3.4%

18,001-21,000

3.4%

above 21,000

3.4%

ABILITY TO PAY, NEARNESS TO WORK

The above data shows 46.6% of households in Estero de Quiapo have incomes of PhP6,000 and above. If 10% of income is allocated to rental expense, each family in this bracket can afford to pay a rental fee of Php600 per month; 31.4% can afford Php300 per month and 22% will need a subsidy or the government can lengthen the amortization period, or give a long grace period to start payment.

75.5% are working within their community/barangay and within the city. Only a small number, 5.6%, are working outside Metro Manila and outside the country. A majority of families live within walking distance of their jobs. Nearness to job sites is a big advantage for the types of work the people have, for example, a woman who cooks food for sale.

Estero de San Sebastian, 79 Households

Source of Income

Total Income

Place of Work

29% of the households are vending (newpapers, cigarettes, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, drinks, viands, rice cakes, cooked food, jewelries, DVDs, sari-sari store and carinderia).

9.4% are in the service sector (sales, merchandiser, salesgirl, salesboy, recruitment agent, cashier, teller, clerk, service crew, bar tender, etc.)

5.8% are in the transport sector (drivers or operators of pedicab, tricycle, jeepney, taxi, delivery vehicle, truck, heavy equipment, etc.)

12.3% are skilled laborers (mason, carpenter, welder, electrician, plumber, steelman, house painter, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

5.8% are unskilled laborers (kargador, labandera, baby sitter, janitor, janitress, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

1.4% are employed in the security sector (security guard, bouncer, barangay tanod, traffic enforcer); professionals (police, military, teacher, nurse, medical technologist, engineer and OFWs.)

1.4% are professionals (police, military, teacher, medical technologist, engineer)

3.6% are pensioners

1.4% are OFWs.

0.7% are government officials (barangay captain and kagawad)

Php 0-3,000

13.9%

22.4% are working within the community/barangay

49.0% are working outside the community but within the city

21.4% are working outside the city but within Metro Manila

5.1% are working outside Metro Manila/other province

2.0% are working in other countries

3,001-6,000

8.9%

6,001-9,000

26.6%

9,001-12,000

21.5%

12,001-15,000

11.4%

15,001-18,000

2.5%

18,001-21,000

6.3%

above 21,000

8.9%

ABILITY TO PAY, NEARNESS TO WORK

Estero de San Sebastian has a higher number of household—77.2% who can pay a rental fee of P600/month. Some 8.9% can pay P300 per month. A lower number of families 13.9% will need a subsidy or easier terms of payments. San Sebastian is better-off economically than the other esteros studied.

92.8% are working within their community/barangay and within the city. 7.1% are working outside Metro Manila and outside the country. The jobs of the estero people are tied to the area where they live. If relocated far away they will not be able to find work easily.

Estero de Aviles, 129 Households

Source of Income

Total Income

Place of Work

38.6% of the households are vending (newpapers, cigarettes, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, drinks, viands, rice cakes, cooked food, jewelries, DVDs, sari-sari store and carinderia).

2.6% are in the service sector (sales, merchandiser, salesgirl, salesboy, recruitment agent, cashier, teller, clerk, service crew, bar tender, etc.)

3.4% are in the transport sector (drivers or operators of pedicab, tricycle, jeepney, taxi, delivery vehicle, truck, heavy equipment, etc.)

6.0% are skilled laborers (mason, carpenter, welder, electrician, plumber, steelman, house painter, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

5.2% are unskilled laborers (kargador, labandera, baby sitter, janitor, janitress, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

1.3% are employed in the security sector (security guard, bouncer, barangay tanod, traffic enforcer);

3.4% are professionals (police, military, teacher, nurse, medical technologist, and engineer)

0.9% are OFWs

0.4%% are pensioners

6% Others

P 0-3,000

20.6%

25.2% are working within the community/barangay

45.9% are working outside the community but within the city

23.9% outside the city but within Metro Manila

1.9% outside Metro Manila/other province

3.1% other countries

3,001-6,000

22.2%

6,001-9,000

19.0%

9,001-12,000

20.6%

12,001-15,000

7.1%

15,001-18,000

0.8%

18,001-21,000

4.0%

21,000 above

5.6%

ABILITY TO PAY, NEARNESS TO WORK

57.1% families can pay a rental fee of P600/month; 22.2% (P300/mo.). Some 20.6% of families need a subsidy or easier terms of payments.

95% are working within the barangay/community and within the city. Only 5% are working outside Metro Manila and other countries.

Estero de San Miguel, 410 Households

Source of Income

Total Income

Place of Work

20% of the households are vending (newpapers, cigarettes, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, drinks, viands, rice cakes, cooked food, jewelries, DVDs, sari-sari store and carinderia).

7.5% are in the service sector (sales, merchandiser, salesgirl, salesboy, recruitment agent, cashier, teller, clerk, service crew, bar tender, etc.)

10.6% are in the transport sector (drivers or operators of pedicab, tricycle, jeepney, taxi, delivery vehicle, truck, heavy equipment, etc.)

10% are skilled laborers (mason, carpenter, welder, electrician, plumber, steelman, house painter, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

7.8% are unskilled laborers (kargador, labandera, baby sitter, janitor, janitress, foreman, supervisor, etc.)

3.8% are employed in the security sector (security guard, bouncer, barangay tanod, traffic enforcer);

1.2% are professionals (police, military, teacher, nurse, medical technologist, and engineer)

0.8% are government officials (barangay captain and kagawad)

2.6% are OFWs

2.1% are pensioners

1.4% Others

P 0-3,000

11.6%

22.3% are working within the community/barangay

53.5% are working outside the community but within the city

18.4% are working outside the city but within Metro Manila

1.4% are working outside Metro Manila/other provinces.

4.5% are working overseas.

3,001-6,000

19.0%

6,001-9,000

17.8%

9,001-12,000

24.7%

12,001-15,000

8.4%

15,001-18,000

5.4%

18,001-21,000

4.0%

21,000 above

9.1%

ABILITY TO PAY, NEARNESS TO WORK

69.4% can pay a rental fee of P600/month; 19% (P300/mo.). A lower number of families, 11.6%, need a subsidy or easier terms of payments.

94.2% are working in their community/barangay and in Metro Manila.

1.4% are working outside Metro Manila and 4.5% are working outside the country.

CONCLUSIONS. Some 74.4% of the people on the esteros studied or worked within their community/barangay and within the city. Another 14.4% work outside Metro Manila and outside the country. A big majority of the household earners are in the informal sector, very dependent on the economic infrastructures that the city provides, such as schools, offices, restaurants, churches and construction activities.

Relocating the Estero residents outside the City of Manila will adversely affect their economic capability. First to suffer because of the loss of jobs will be the education of children and food for the family, which will lead to malnutrition. The ability to pay monthly amortization for on-site upgrading is sure; government will recover its investment. An average percentage of 62% of families in the esteros can pay P600 per month. In distant relocation sites which the people do not choose and do not like the government recovers very little of its investment, maybe as low as 10%. However, if people like what the government does, they repay, for example, in the Community Mortgage Program.

To dislocate all the households on the esteros in effect will add to the already increasing number of poor people nationwide who are hungry and malnourished.

It is easier for a family with a monthly income of PhP6,000 to survive in the city where they are now, because the cost of living is cheaper compared to that in the resettlement areas, according to resettled families interviewed. Transportation costs are minimal in the city, schoolchildren walk to their schools; workers also walk. Basic commodities such as fish, vegetables, meat, etc. are cheaper, according to people we interviewed from the resettlement areas. When one gets sick in the city, hospitals are nearby reducing medical costs, they said.

The receiving municipalities have no capacity to provide mass employment to the relocatees. A massive employment scheme would be needed to accommodate the families to be resettled, who runs into the thousands. Addressing employment problems should be the priority before uprooting families. Slum upgrading is a better development scheme for the urban settlers. Both the government and informal settlers will save an enormous sum of money from this.

The buildings designed by Palafox Associates are meant to make people on the esteros safe from flooding. Families will not be living on ground levels. They will be able, if there is flooding, to move to the second floor of their houses. If even this doesn’t save them, they can be evacuated as the people said on page 1 of this paper.

The buildings will have toilets and liquid waste treatment so the people will not pollute the river, an accusation often made by critics of the urban poor. There will be no families living on stilts in the water of the esteros that could block the flow of water that creates flooding. Also the families have already in some esteros (in parts of San Miguel Estero, for example) begun to clean the esteros.

The buildings designed by Palafox can be combined with gardens, mini parks, and tea and coffee shops that will make the community very attractive and a place tourists will like to visit.

The people in the esteros say they have not suffered much from flooding in the past, even during Ondoy. If the welfare of the poor is our aim, there is no need to move them for their health’s sake. If the reason for moving people is because their communities are not nice looking, then help the people improve their housing as Palafox Associates does.

If we all try to make the esteros a safe and beautiful site for families we can do that. As planned by Palafox Associates there is provision made for all the concerns of government, such as, water flow, dredging, toilets, and care for the waters of the estero.

Our old distant relocation methods did not solve the problem: 30%-40% of the families returned to the city and the slums. Government didn’t get its money back. Why don’t we try this new approach that is already successfully done in other Asian cities, such as, Bangkok and Surabaya.

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