Learning Session1 - Defining the People’s Plan Approach: Principles and Practices
The first learning session was held on 1 October 2021, with Ericka Nava from Philippine Action for Community-led Shelter Initiatives, Inc. (PACSII) facilitating the session. Ms. Ruby Haddad, National Coordinator of Homeless People’s Federation Philippines, Inc. (HPFPI), gave an introductory remark by welcoming the participants, speakers, and explained the series of events for the month of October - learning sessions, workshops, summit and policy drafting writeshop validations in preparation of the 30 years anniversary of the Urban Development Housing Act.
The first speaker was Mr. Percival Chavez, President of the Board of Trustees of PACSII, presented the concept and origin of “People’s Plan” through the history of the People’s Plan, its concepts and basic principles, and experiences and practical considerations needed in the implementation of the People’s Plan. Next, Atty. JC Tejano, one of the lawyers in Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN), Inc., talked about the People’s Plan from a legal point of view. Third, Ar. Vhal Libutaque-Ebreo, EnP., Program Manager of LinkBuild, Inc., discussed the People’s Plan in terms of the technical perspective. According to Ar. Vhal, it is a plan formulated by members of the community in collaboration with different technical professions. It is a process of co-creation where professionals listen, understands and support and the members of the community learns, develops skills and is able to decide on what is suitable and fit for the community. As a case community presentation, Ms. Madeline Suarez, president of Alliance of People Organizations Along Manggahan Floodway (APOAMF), recounted her community’s experiences with the People’s Plan. To synthesize the first session, Ar. Louie Posadas, Executive Director of Technical Assistance Movement for People and Environment, Inc. (TAMPEI), discussed and shared the main takeaways from the different topics through a diagram with social justice in the middle and the actors involved in People’s Planning (the government, the academe and private sectors, civil society, and people’s organizations), the concepts that contribute to social justice (the People’s Plan, the Right to the City, Co-Creation, and social empowerment), and the components of the housing process (social preparation, technical preparation, project implementation, and estate management) around it showing how all these interact with each other.
Learning Session 2 - Government as a Partner in Implementing the People’s Plan
The second learning session was held on 8 October 2021, with Dr. Melissa Navarra, Executive Director of Joly Homes Foundation, facilitating the session. To formally begin the learning session, an opening speech was delivered by Fr. Rolando A. Tuazon. The essence of the series of events was expounded on as building blocks that help people to be equipped and enlightened with knowledge for the upcoming National Summit Tahanan 2021 on November 19. One of the objectives of this learning session was to learn from each other and help the people realize their dreams in terms of security in housing and land through their own initiative with the collaboration of government agencies and NGOs. Dr. Melissa Navarra gave a brief summary of the previous learning session “Defining the People’s Plan Approach: Principles and Practices”. Highlighting key words and principles shared by the previous speakers that defines and gives life to people’s plan. She also shared an overview for Learning Session 2 wherein according to her, the session will cover: Insight on how to engage with Central and Government units in implementing people’s plan, illustrate different forms of people led social housing and the intricate elements and unique approaches of what makes people’s plan work.
First, Atty. Junefe G. Payot , Executive Vice President of Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), gave an overview of the role of Key Shelter Agencies (KSAs) in the People’s Planning process. As a representative of the Quezon City LGU, Mr. Valentin Gabor, Housing and Homesite Regulatory Officer II of Quezon City Housing Community Development and Resettlement Department, talked about how People’s Planning can be incorporated into local government projects. Dr. Rei Shiraishi, Assistant Professor of Yamagushi University, then talked about her policy evaluation research focusing on Oplan LIKAS, a PHP50 billion inter-agency initiative that aimed to transfer Informal Settler Families (ISFs) living in danger and high-risk areas to decent and safer settlements. To community leaders Mr. Ping Fampulme, Chairman of the Board of NABIGLA PO HOA, Inc. and Mr. Raymond Jinon, president of Riverview Homeowners Association (RVHOA), were invited to talk about their experiences with working government offices in implementing the People’s Plan.
Mr. Percival Chavez summarized the following important key learnings from the session and the resource speakers:
1. The Government having the lead role. They have the power to mandate law, capacity to formulate laws, policies and ordinances and has power of the purse – budget.
2. Importance of local government. Local government needs to show the capacity to make techniques and ways to resolve housing problems of the poor. Supports the blight of the urban poor in terms of financing and helps in data-based decision making.
3. Scientific way of understanding the approach in housing. Approach to peoples planning supported by data and well-studied research.
4. People’s plan centered on people’s decision-making and autonomy. People’s plan does not start from technical plan and estate managent.It starts with the faces and phases (stage) of the struggle of the urban poor
5. Partnership into a dialogue framework with government - the intention of peoples plan. Look into how to balance control and autonomy, how to balance decision making, how to resolve conflicts not just with technical problems and resources.
The synthesis ended with the notion of the spirit of people’s planning as an ongoing social process and the need to have more capable, accountable and open minded people centered with a vision of serving marginalized underserved sectors.
The 2021 People’s Plan Workshop, held last 22 October 2021, aimed to identify and record the different definitions, approaches, and practices based on the experiences of different groups on people’s planning, from the pre-housing or social preparation stage to the post-housing or estate management stage. It also focused on determining the roles and functions of different groups of stakeholders under the People’s Plan Approach, as well as the levels of implementation at which these roles and functions would be assumed. This workshop also helped identify and set both negotiable and non-negotiable steps in the implementation of the People’s Plan Approach.
A total of forty-eight (48) participants attended the workshop that included representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs), government key shelter agencies (KSAs), technical professionals and academe, the private sector, and local government units (LGUs). The participants were separated into four breakout rooms that discussed the definition and principles, processes and roles, and the challenges and limitations with each breakout room focusing on the perspective of each key stakeholder.
Mr. Percival Chavez synthesized the main points raised during the workshop. The People’s Plan is the product of the struggle because of the differences between the people and the government - especially from the time when there were no laws about this. In this workshop, we see the light, the People’s Plan is a progressive timeline, evolving, and developed through time. And within this timeline there are stages, from pre-stage to actual construction and estate management. There is also the matter of timing – timing of data, of budget, of which department the funds should come.
But the principles are clear: People’s Planning is multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder, transformative and progressive, and other possibilities may arise. There is the spirit of planning, which may be lost in the technical aspect. But keep in mind, that the technical aspect is imbued to a single vision of the community. And this is where good governance enters.
People’s Plan is part of good governance. People’s Plan is part of the openness of both parties – the community and the government. People’s Plan is the generosity of each participant.
These are the intangibles. There are things that are easy to get - from the books, from other stakeholders. But once the predisposition of the participants are nonexistent, we are missing the point, the center of gravity of People’s Plan. People who are serious, who are dedicated and committed. The plans, finance, capacity building, training are all the things that can be acquired. But without the intangibles, if these are not written in our hearts and in our minds, the People’s Plan is unattainable, impossible even. People’s Plan is a burst of energy, a burst of hope. If we lose the spirit and the heart of what we’re going, we will struggle.
Tahanan Summit 2021
The Tahanan Summit 2021, with the theme “Creating Inclusive and Sustainable Settlements through People’s Planning”, was attended by the participants of the previous activities for the purpose of consolidating the different definitions, approaches, and processes documented in the workshops, and coming up with a unified implementation guide on People’s Planning. The event was held on the 19th of November,2021 facilitated by Ms. Carla Santos of TAMPEI and Mr. Percival Chavez of PACSII.
Cong. Franciso Benitez, Chairperson of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, through a pre-written speech read aloud by Mr. Percival Chavez, gave the keynote address. Ms. Luz Malibiran of Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) discussed how the People’s Plan can be mainstreamed given the varying community contexts. Ms. Jeanette Cruz, Director of DHSUD Finance Service, discussed how the DHSUD along with other key shelter agencies can participate in the People’s Plan. Her project focus is Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable, and Inclusive Filipino Communities (BALAI). Ar. Dolly Anne Zoluaga, Assistant Department Head of Iloilo City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), gave her inputs on the mainstreaming of the People’s Plan process at the LGU level. Enhancing public participation in the processes encourages participation in the local development council with the private sector, POs, and NGOs being active in the development of Iloilo City.
After the presentations by the two government offices, three panelist reactors: Mr. Marcelino Mendoza, Chairman of the Board of Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers, Inc. (OSHDP), Mr. Fermin Sta. Teresa Jr., Senior Vice President of Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and Ms. Ana Oliveros, Former President of Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), gave their inputs.
Mr. Percival Chavez, President of Philippine Action for Community-led Shelter Initiatives, Inc. (PACSII), gave a synthesis of all that was discussed in the summit. He notes that it is important to explain and clarify the terminologies used in laws to beneficiaries to increase the accessibility of housing laws. With all that the speakers and panelists presented and discussed, the advocacy for the people’s plan approach is progressing. To strengthen the advocacy, we need to emphasize people’s empowerment.
In summary, the People’s Plan has five aspects. On the social aspect, the plan is a holistic approach. On the political aspect, the right of people to participate is recognized. On the economic aspect, communities are drivers of the economy and in implementing projects, optimal use of resources must be observed. On the cultural aspect, the People’s Plan can change the community psyche if people are given the chance to participate. Lastly, on the technological aspect, People’s Planning encourages innovations given the differing contexts of each community.
The inputs from the Tahanan series of events, especially the results of the consultation workshop, will be consolidated into a policy document that is currently being drafted by our partner, SALIGAN. This March, we will be holding validation sessions for the document. This policy document will be forwarded to DHSUD for implementation. The main objective of this document is to mainstream the people’s plan process and institutionalize support.