DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 May) – The informal settlers who were evicted from Barangay 23-C Salmonan should organize into an association to avail of a housing loan from the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortez said.
In an interview on Tuesday, Cortez said they can help organize the illegal settlers affected by the demolition last Monday and refer them to the SHFC for the processing of their loan applications for a house and lot.
He said the residents refused to be interviewed for census and tagging conducted by the City Government, which would have determined their eligibility for relocation.
“The association should raise an equity for them to avail of the loan,” he added.
At least 280 Muslim and Christian families were displaced after authorities demolished their houses in Barangay 26-C Salmonan, Quezon Boulevard on Monday.
Several families claimed they had lived in the area for five decades already.
Their community is being claimed by Tausug Datu Bahajin Marcos Mahadali.
The residents countered Mahadali’s claims, saying the transfer certificate of title only covers a 1,003-square meter property in Barrio Tugbok, Lianga and not the 3,000-square meter property where their houses stand.
Cortez said some of the informal settlers might not get support from the city government as they may not qualify as beneficiaries of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.
The UDHA defines “underprivileged and homeless citizens,” the beneficiaries of the law, as “individuals or families residing in urban and urbanizable areas whose income or combined household income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority and who do not own housing facilities. This shall include those who live in makeshift dwelling units and do not enjoy security of tenure.”
The 2015 poverty survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority in Davao Region said a Dabawenyo needed P1,896 a month to meet both basic and non-basic needs.
Newly-appointed Urban Poor Commissioner Norman B. Baloro said that they can assist the Salmonan residents in forming an association as part of their office’s mandate “to social preparation.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)