The Ateneo de Zamboanga University recently forged a partnership with the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to implement a community-driven housing project for Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the city.
Sealed with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing on June 16, 2016 at the Jose Maria Rosauro Building, the partnership seeks to address the housing problem of some 200 informal settlers of Sta. Catalina, this city, who were displaced during the 2013 siege.
Under the agreement, SHCF will extend its affordable and community-driven social housing project in the city to provide land tenure security to displaced informal settler families (ISFs) as a response to the housing needs in the city. ADZU, on the other hand, through its Center for Community Extension Services (CCES), the Ateneo Center for Leadership and Governance (ACLG) and the Ateneo Peace Institute (API)’s Muslim Affairs, will provide the expertise and training on leadership and local governance participation, financial literacy and business development, and health, to support efforts to build sustainable communities. In the process, the University will be assisting SHFC in developing a culturally sensitive housing program for Muslims, indigenous cultural communities and ISFs.
Present during the MOU signing were: ADZU President Fr. Karel San Juan, SJ; Dr. Rebecca Fernandez, ADZU Academic Vice President; the SHFC team led by its President Maria Ana Oliveros and Gina Lumbre, SHFC Regional head; City Vice Mayor Cesar Ituralde; Jojo Abdusalam, City Executive Assistant for Muslim Affairs, and Sitti Nadzar Amil, President of the Multi Tribal Home Owners Association Incorporated (MTHOAI).
Fr. San Juan, in expressing his appreciation of and support to the SHFC, the Local Government Unit and the MTHOAI, said that the partnership is very significant because “(it) is a great blessing to us (ADZU) in terms of addressing the gap in our social development interventions”. He added that it is a partnership in the truest sense of the word with the different stakeholders sharing in the university’s vision of a new Mindanao – of advocating social transformation through community extension with multi-cultural communities.
Oliveros, on the other hand, related her optimism that this partnership will contribute greatly to the city, especially in providing homes and forming sustainable communities among Muslims.
Vice Mayor Ituralde, in behalf of the Mayor, commended the SHFC and ADZU in their efforts to help the formal and informal settlers in the city. He said that the City government extends its full support of the project, stating, “We do not just build houses, we are building homes and communities far better than before. We are building a resilient and better Zamboanga,” concluding his statement with the battle cry of City Hall.
SHFC is a government agency mandated to serve homeless Filipinos around the country through flexible, affordable, innovative and responsive community-driven social housing programs for ISFs. SHFC is currently developing its flagship program, the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) which, with assistance from ADZU, SHFC hopes to be a culturally sensitive program that will help organized ISFs own the land they occupy or choose their relocation site, and create sustainable communities.