From “home along da riles” to subdivision living.
This is what the Duterte administration, through the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC), is offering to some 12,000 families living along railways from Manila to Laguna.
Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, SHFC president, told Daily Tribune that the agency was tapped by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) as partner in relocating informal settler families (ISF) living along the Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) Tutuban-Calamba route.
Cabling said SHFC already found the land to develop subdivision-like communities in Tanza, Cavite acquired for the ISF who will be affected by the PNR project.
He stressed that the effort to relocate the 11,000 to 12,000 families is a whole-of-government program, citing the SHFC was able to acquire the land in Tanza from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“Here, we see the various government agencies working together to provide better living conditions to the affected ISF,” Cabling said.
“On our part, the SHFC was tapped by the DoTr because of our past experiences in building communities for victims of typhoon ‘Ondoy.’ The DoTr is engaging our partnership to relocate those living along the Tutuban-Calamba route,” he added.
Cabling said the SHFC has already paid 20 percent of the total cost of the Tanza property to BSP two weeks ago.
“They (DoTr) had downloaded money to us. We are already starting it,” he said.
SHFC model horizontal homes have a 24-square meter floor area with provisions for a loft and cost only P580,000. The loan is subject to only six percent annual interest, payable up to 25 years.
Cabling said coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is funding the Tutuban-Calamba section of the project, has started.
He said the SHFC had organized the affected ISF down to the barangay level to engage the families from the planning stage up.
The official explained that it has been the practice of SHFC to involve the ISF themselves in all stages of the relocation project.
“We are not only building homes. SHFC is building communities — resilient and sustainable communities. We have a livelihood component,” Cabling said.
“We engage them (ISF) from the very beginning. We plan together as a group. So, they have a voice in undertaking the project,” he added.
Old PNR line revived
As part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the DoTr is reviving the PNR via the P777 billion North-South Commuter Railway Systems, one of the big-ticket projects of the current government.
The project is composed of 36 stations traversing various cities and municipalities in Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Calabarzon.
Cabling said the National Housing Authority was tapped to take care of the affected ISF along the north line from Manila to Clark in Pampanga.
In the 1990s, a sitcom entitled “Home Along da Riles,” bannered by the late comedy king Dolphy, was a hit, depicting the daily routine of residents living beside railways, including jolts to their makeshift houses every time a train passes by.