TAMPEI launches iSyudad 2021, gets NBDB accreditation TAMPEI conducted a three-month research which aimed to identify current conditions...
Over the last five years, TAMPEI has been implementing innovative gender-responsive, fit-for-purpose land tools and approaches to address land tenure issues in Muntinlupa’s informal settlements, including those in other cities. Likewise, the organization continues to facilitate partnerships with relevant stakeholders at the national and local levels to influence existing urban policies or by-laws and advocate for new policies that look into the issues affecting communities living in informal settlements. All these strategies aim to improve the lives of urban poor groups through slum/informal settlement planning and/or upgrading.
According to a citywide community mapping exercise carried out by TAMPEI and its partners from the Homeless People’s Federation Philippines Inc. (HPFPI), Muntinlupa Development Foundation (MDF) and Muntinlupa City Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO) from 2015 to 2017, nearly 34,000 households or about 126,000 residents in Muntinlupa were living in 189 informal settlements scattered across its 8 barangays. While the project outputs—such as generation of thematic maps, the formation of community savings groups, and the conduct of housing-related dialogues with national and local authorities—were initially documented by the project team, there remains some aspects of community-driven development and their corresponding impacts on various levels that need to be further looked into.
As part of this assignment, an assessment of the project implementation over the past five years will be conducted by TAMPEI through technical support from the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN). This will be complemented by a study in the form of a research that will gather evidence from select settlements of Muntinlupa about past experiences on the different phases of the project, including lessons learned and emerging outcomes. The study will underscore the importance of establishing the changes that have occurred over time: to learn from, and improve project activities; measure what difference the intervention is making to the informal settler families, participating stakeholders including CSOs, academe, government (local and national); and lastly to generate evidence of impact to advocate for continued support and/or funding from relevant stakeholders.
Five areas were identified as main themes of this study with reference to how they have been influenced/impacted by the implementation of innovative land tools and approaches in Muntinlupa’s informal settlements: (1) tenure security, (2) provision of and/or improvement of basic services, (3) mitigation against hazards and disasters, (4) community organizations and livelihoods, and (5) policy and institutional aspects.
The study will employ both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. A questionnaire was developed and is now being administered to a select target group. A purposeful sampling technique was used to target respondents that have had prior interaction with specific land tools and approaches during project implementation in the study area. The respondents are divided into four categories: community members and leaders/TWG representatives, government representatives, partners from the academe and professional organizations, and partners from civil society organizations (CSOs) / non-government organizations (NGOs).
A focus group discussion will also be conducted parallel to the online survey. This is to understand respondents’ attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences, and reactions in their interaction with the different tools during the project implementation. The FGDs will target three groups: Mapping Team, community technical working group (TWG) representatives from District 1, and TWG representatives from District 2.Each group is targeted to have about 10 to 12participants.
The research results are intended to be shared to communities, local governments, and regional networks through a written output or publication and the conduct of a Regional Learning Exchange (RLEx) in May 2022.
The Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Design (BCRUPD) is a capacity building project being implemented by UN-Habitat Philippines in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Climate Change Commission (CCC), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP). This project intends to supplement existing planning guidelines and develop knowledge through policy inputs, capacity development, and demonstration activities. A key component of BCRUPD is to integrate COVID-19 green recovery technical assistance to the cities of Tagum and Ormoc for recovery planning and related project investment programming.
To ground its implementation, UN-Habitat Philippines partnered with TAMPEI from April to May 2021 in conducting a rapid survey and focus group discussion (FGD) in five barangays each in Tagum City and Ormoc City. The goal was to identify the impacts of COVID-19 in selected urban poor communities and to consolidate, process and analyze the data to inform policy and program/project development related to COVID-19 resilient and green recovery (RGR). The results of this research were then presented by TAMPEI to the cities of Tagum and Ormoc as part of the Resilient and Green Recovery Plan Workshop being piloted in the two cities. This activity served as the basis for the mainstreaming of the RGR program by DHSUD at the national level.
With the support of BCRUPD team, the DHSUD and CCC gathered experts from various fields to discuss the Resilient and Green Human Settlements Framework (RGHSF) in a hybrid activity held at the Discovery Suites, Ortigas Center, December 16. Communities and transportation networks, local economies, green jobs, and food systems, empowerment of local government units, water and sanitation, and inclusivity and participation of sectors were discussed. Ar. Louie Posadas, TAMPEI Executive Director, placed emphasis on holistic people’s planning process, grassroots leadership, and revitalization of local workers and volunteers.
Last July, in line with Philippine National Disaster Resilience Month, TAMPEI and its partners organized a learning session on community-based disaster resiliency. Recognizing pandemics as a form of disaster, the session dove into the interrelations between disaster resiliency and tenure security in the context of urban informality. Through the presentation and discussions, the session provided the participants some valuable insights on informing resilient planning based on the shared experiences and lessons learned by the academe and civil society in supporting various pandemic response and recovery efforts of grassroots communities in Mega Manila (Muntinlupa, Valenzuela City, Quezon City, and Rizal), Visayas (Iloilo City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and Ormoc City), and Mindanao (Davao City, Kidapawan City, and Tagum City).
Four speakers from various institutions were invited. The session was facilitated by Ar. Carla Santos, President of TAMPEI. She first introduced the coverage of the session as well as gave some welcoming remarks. The first speaker was Aianah Santos, Communications and Research Officer of TAMPEI. She presented the case studies in TAMPEI’s most recent publication, iSyudad 2021: Adaptive Capacities of the Urban Poor During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Disasters. She discussed how social capital plays a central role in pandemic and disaster response and the recovery efforts of urban poor communities across the country.
Ar. Anna Karaan, Senior Lecturer from University of the Philippines - College of Architecture (UPCA),with her presentation on “Service Learning in the New Normal: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach to Online Community Service,” set examples on how the academic community can meaningfully participate and support pandemic initiatives of urban poor groups through the National Service Training Service - Civic Welfare Training (NSTP-CWTS) Program. TAMPEI partnered with UPCA and UP School of Economics (UPSE) and signed a three-year memorandum of agreement with the two academic institutions in 2021.
Michelangelo Gaddi, Project Coordinator of PACSII, with his presentation on “Community-led COVID-19 Response: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward” shared their experiences working directly with the HPFPI in supporting locally-led pandemic responses ranging from urban gardening to livelihood recovery and vulnerability spot mapping to health monitoring and information campaigns.
Reinero Flores, Project Manager of UN-Habitat Philippines (UNHP), with his presentation on “Resilient and Green Recovery Planning Towards the New and Better Normal”, provided insights on how participation from the urban poor sector can inform the crafting of city-level resilient and green recovery plans anchored UN-Habitat’s project called Building Climate Resilience through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD). Ongoing initiatives in Ormoc and Tagum served as case studies.
The presentations were followed by an open forum and a synthesis by the facilitator.
Through joint technical and organizational support from TAMPEI and HPFPI, four communities in the cities of Davao and Kidapawan successfully implemented the Co-Create Project funded by Misereor via the Community Architects Network (CAN) in Asia. The Project which ran from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 had three components: co-research, action, and network-building.
Co-Research: An overview of the communities
The first component of the project was carried out from September to December 2020 using the participatory action research (PAR) framework that aimed to document the experiences and build on the initatives of selected urban poor groups during the time of COVID-19 pandemic. Joining the PAR were three communities in Davao City namely, Bago Aplaya Settlers Homeowners Association (BASHA), Nalum Ville, and Arroyo Compound. Additionally, BONPENCUEN Community in Kidapawan City also participated in the research. The PAR comprehensively covered urgent and emerging issues on:
• Demolitions: issues on housing rights and multiple claims to land; attempts at conflict resolution among various land parties; government inaction; and eviction notices and demolition threats.
• Disasters: earthquakes; storm surges and strong coastal winds.
• Diseases: the COVID-19 pandemic.
Action: Community-led responses to the pandemic
Using the results of PAR, the project’s second component targeted to strengthen the various community-led responses to the issues mentioned above. Particular attention was given to the pandemic given its urgency and magnitude. The following themes surfaced evidently:
• Public health and community care. Aside from the individual use of face masks and face shields and practicing physical distancing measures, the residents also initiated the following collective actions: construction of community gates to monitor those coming in and out of their communities; setting up foot baths and handwashing stations with COVID-19 information posters in conspicuous areas; establishment of community-based health monitoring systems and training sessions with barangay health workers (BHWs); and provision of psychosocial support to earthquake victims.
• Food security and disaster management. Whether for daily nutrition, as an alternative source of income, or a newly found pastime, most residents turned to urban farming during the height of pandemic lockdown. Because of limited space, some used their yards to vertically plant various crops and ornamental plants. Others used communal spaces such as cooperative rooftop and idle lots that doubled as an evacuation area during the earthquake. Those near the coast collected clams and shells, while those along the highway sold fruits using mobile stores.
• Digital technology. Because of restricted mobility, the communities took to social media to connect with their loved ones and to sell their goods. The use of technology likewise aided online and/or blended learning strategies. However, for some., online learning seemed elusive as not everyone had the privilege of having smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computer sets for educational purposes.
Network-Building: Sustaining gains through multi-stakeholder partnerships
The third and last component of the project focused on attaining project sustainability through linkages and resource mobilization. Several institutions from academia, government and civil society became project partners. Students taking their Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) from the University of the Philippines College of Architecture (UPCA) and School of Economics (UPSE) in Diliman, Quezon City provided remote assistance by raising funds for the community-based project proposals they co-developed with the residents and by designing community facilities such as vertical gardens and food production areas. On the side of the government, the Office of City Councilor Librado and the Department of Agriculture facilitated a hands-on training series on urban gardening attended by the residents and distributed seeds as capital for their livelihood recovery, respectively. Unemployment survey and livelihood planning sessions were then administered by the HPFPI through funding assistance from the Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and Cities Alliance.
For HPFPI Davao Regional Coordinator Janeth Mandin, “Co-creation means forming linkages and working together with various sectors as a strategy to complement knowledge, expertise, and resources — all in the name of attaining the shared goal of inclusive development.”