Sarangani to finish housing project for indigenous folk in 2015

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 October) — The provincial government of Sarangani is targeting the completion early next year of two model housing projects funded by the National Housing Authority (NHA) for poor and marginalized tribal residents in two municipalities in the area.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said in a statement the development of the Tukeh’ Be’nlay Village project in Maitum town and the Highlanders Village in Malungon town is currently ongoing with an initial P5 million grant from the NHA.

He said Vice President Jejomar Binay, who chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), personally handed over the financial grant during a visit to the area earlier this month.

Under the project, which is part of the NHA’s flagship housing program for indigenous peoples (IPs), a total of 100 housing units will be constructed in the two sites that were previously acquired by the host local government units (LGUs).

The Tukeh’ Be’nlay Village project will benefit T’boli tribal residents of Barangay Batian in Maitum while the Highlanders Village will be for B’laan residents of Sitio Kalonbarak in Poblacion, Malungon.

The initial P5-million grant represents half or 50 percent of the total development cost for the two housing projects.

A project briefer said the two housing projects are considered unique as the houses were based on designs approved by the concerned tribes and their respective LGUs.

It said the design for the houses in the Tukeh’ Be’nlay Village is different from those of the houses in the Highlanders Village to properly conform with the customs and traditions of each tribe.

The IP housing program is being implemented by the NHA in coordination with the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples and the host LGUs.

Aside from Sarangani, the agency is also developing two similar housing projects within the next two years in South Cotabato province.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the HUDCC and the NHA recently approved the allocation of around P10 million each for the development of resettlement projects in T’boli and Lake Sebu towns.

She said the initiative will take off from the model IP resettlement projects being implemented by the NHA in various parts of the country.

NHA opened earlier this year the Talacogon Tribal Village in Agusan del Sur that comprised of 127 housing units.

The agency is currently constructing 1,365 housing units for the Aetas in Pampanga, Mangyans in Occidental Mindoro and Badjaos in Tawi-Tawi. (MindaNews)