Last September 30, a team of homeowners’ association (HOA) officers and community mobilizers under the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) Community Mortgage Programme(CMP) in Cagayan de Oro (CdeO) flew to Roxas City for a learning event conducted by UN-Habitat. The two-day activity was aimed at priming the HOAs in their adoption of a community-driven post-disaster shelter recovery.
Thirteen HOA officers and three community mobilizers from various CdeO-based NGOs were taught on the “People’s Process”, which is the driving principle behind the recently launched Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements Project being implemented in in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo, particularly in the municipalities of Estancia, Panay, and Pontevedra and in Roxas City.
Having been successfully implemented in several countries, notably in Indonesia, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the People’s Process is strongly advocated by UN-Habitat Philippines in the project funded by the Government of Japan to sustain post-disaster recovery in the local context.
Accustomed to conventional contracting, the Kagayanons were introduced to the Community Contracting scheme employed in the project, where HOAs lead and manage the shelter rebuilding operations, from procurement of materials to overseeing the timely completion of houses. Further in the symposium, the delegates were oriented on the construction and financial management systems of the project.
‘Long, winding road’
The following day, the participants toured the typhoon-resilient pilot house launched last August 7 at Villa Carmel Phase II HOAI in Brgy. Baybay, Roxas City, and Pawa HOAI in Brgy.Pawa, Panay—UN-Habitat’s biggest partner community yet, with 70 households eligible for shelter reconstruction.
The peak of the event, however, was the open forum which enabled delegates to air their frustrations with the encumbering ‘bureaucracies’ in offsite shelter recovery. Nearly three years have passed since Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong in the Philippines) but still, many of the internally-displaced are still treading the ‘long, winding road’ to a safer and better home. Some reported that this has inadvertently led to a major burnout among members and leaders, according to some.
Capiz HOAI officers present during the event also shared the challenges they’ve experienced in community-led rebuilding such as indifference among officers and members, arrears, and site issues, and the corresponding steps they took to overcome them.
As a fitting conclusion to the event, the participants did a SWOT analysis to help in the realization of their shared dream: to live in a safe, sustainable and resilient community.