DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – The Mansaka tribe in Pantukan town, Compostela Valley would be the country’s pilot community in a government housing project for indigenous peoples, after Vice President Jejomar Binay asked the municipal government last week to allow the country’s housing program to adapt and pilot the town’s plan to provide housing to its tribal residents.
The request came up after the municipal planning officer, Dr. Arnulfo Lantayan, inquired during the housing summit here on how the national shelter agencies could help the town with its plan.
“Would you allow us to pilot it in your town?,” Binay asked Lantayan during the summit at the Marco Polo Hotel, where the Davao City housing roadshow was held by the national shelter agencies for local government executives.
Binay announced shortly that the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, which groups all the national shelter agencies, would now include the indigenous communities in the beneficiary sectors of a national shelter program.
The plan was yet to be drawn up.
However, the Pantukan plan picked up the tab when Binay said it would now be its pilot project.
Lantayan said that Mayor Cesar Sarenas has targeted the Mansaka tribal families of Pantukan, where a devastating landslide on Good Friday killed 14 persons, as beneficiaries of a program on decent housing.
He said the proposed site it the 1.7-hectare lot at the back of the municipal government compound in poblacion Pantukan. The area was part of a 9.7-hectare housing site for government employees and relocation site for informal settlers.
The municipal government was yet to survey the actual population of the target families which are mostly Mansakas and inhabit all the 13 barangays. They are concentrated however in Napnapan and KingKing, where most of the small-scale mining activities were also being undertaken during the last three decades.
He said the Mansakas were included in the list of likely beneficiaries due to their regular request for the municipal government to help their children find residence in the town center while studying at the only high school.
“We have already built a dormitory for them that could accommodate 20 persons. And we are planning, in fact, to put up similar structure in the other barangays,” he said.
The housing for the tribes would help the families in the remotest areas, some of which have to go to Mati, Davao Oriental or Nabunturan in the northern part of Compostela Valley, if they wanted to go to the poblacion of Pantukan.
Lantayan said the municipal government may ask the shelter agencies to give the financial assistance for free saying that they could only afford the land. “If they give not less than P10 million, then it would be a great help,” he added, as he assured that the municipal government could take care of the manpower requirement.
“Let us see how the discussion would turn out,” he said.
Binay has instructed the Socialized Housing Finance Corp. to meet with the Pantukan municipal government after the summit. (MindaNews)