26 February 2014. Task Force UDHA Amendments composed of Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies Inc (Philssa), Peoples Alternative Study Center for Research and Education in Social Development (Pascres) and various peoples organizations from different cities attended the committee hearing on Housing and Urban Development meeting today at Speaker Yniguez Hall, South Wing Annex Building, House of Representatives that discussed the amendments on House Bill 2791 entitled “Strengthening and Securing the Rights of the Urban Poor Against Evictions and/or Demolitions and to Provide Adequate Housing” introduced by Representatives Cresente Paez, Leonor Robredo and et al.
Celia Santos, UPA UDHA Advocacy Officer said, “We are happy that finally our proposed amendments on House Bill 2791 are now being discussed in the committee Hearing under Congressman Alfred Benitez. This bill will ensure that the rights of the poor for decent housing will be given a priority.”
This bill aims to further secure the urban poor from eviction and demolition of their homes and from relocating them in distant places lacking basic services and livelihood opportunities, thus clarifying the definition of “resettlement areas” that it must be within and/or near city areas.
Last February 19, President Benigno Aquino III graced the presentation of the first urban on-site medium-rise building model unit through a people’s plan at Claro M. Recto High School, Legarda, Sampaloc, Manila. The house is set three meters back from the estero. It is energy efficient and resistant to floods, liquefaction and earth shaking.
Filomena Cinco, President of Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Legarda said, "It took us five years to realize our dream of on-site housing along Estero de San Miguel. We have asked the help of UPA, our NGO partner to get architects that will tell the government that the project can be done. Through House bill 2791, the government will not just tell urban poor people living along waterways that they must be evicted because they are in danger areas. With the bill, waterways dwellers can seek proper technical and scientific study to opt for on-site housing and a public consultations will be done.”
Cinco added, "Our proposed UDHA Amendments is not just a protection to urban poor people rights, more than that it will protect the government and the public to secure that poverty alleviation and risk mitigation can be achieved."