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Habitat for Humanity beneficiaries are true developers

December 07, 2018 - Friday 5:12 PM by Judy Quiros

HABITAT for Humanity beneficiaries are true developers

Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP) is partnering with various developers to build homes for the homeless, but it considers the beneficiaries themselves as top developers of their own homes.

Lili Fuentes, the chief operating officer of HFHP, told the Mirror in an interview that “sweat equity” is the guiding principle of HFHP to instill in their beneficiaries the significance of participation in building their homes as well as the value of pride.

“Sweat equity is non-negotiable to us. The beneficiaries have to sweat it out for 400 hours in building their homes. We’re empowering them, we’re helping them steward their own homes,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes was in Davao City on November 29 together with other HFHP officials to attend the blessing of HFHP-Davao's new office in the downtown area.

“Investing with partners to have a better office for our Davao employees is a testament to our commitment to continuously build decent shelter in this region and the rest of the country,” Fuentes  said.

Uy generously provided the space free of rental fees until 2021. The new office is now on the Mezzanine Floor, Asaje 3 Building, Duterte corner Ilustre Street, Davao City.

Habitat Philippines’ recent projects in Davao include multi-million peso partnerships with Euro Towers International, DMI Medical Supply, Inc., and the NCCC Group of Companies.

Fuentes emphasized HFHP homes are not just dole-outs and it’s not just about giving houses especially to the vulnerable ones like victims of disaster, displaced families due to ongoing government projects, or victims of conflict.

“When they contribute by helping in building their homes, they feel 'I am not just given a home, I was part of it.' That’s the pride we want to instill to the families,” Fuentes said.

Allan Visitacion, PR manager for HFHP, said  the beneficiaries are the true developers. “They help build their homes while their sons and daughters are in school.”  

“We don’t give a fish, we teach them how to fish,” he said.

HFHP is currently building 47 houses in Marilog for the indigenous people  in partnership with DMI Medical Supply Corp. and Department of Education (DepED). The project is set to be completed this year or at the latest early January next year.


ONE of the HFHP homes

On November 29, HFHP turned over three Multipurpose Centers (MPCs) to Panabo Elementary School. The MPCs is implemented under the Special Education Program of government and intended initially for 145 special children, Fuentes said.

The three MPCs are part of the 10 MPCs to be built in identified areas in Davao City. The three completed MPCs have an estimated cost of P3.5 million.

In  Mindanao, HFHP has provided homes to about 20,000 families. Of the number about 5,000 families are from Davao City, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte.

HFHP has just turned 30 years. It celebrated its 30th anniversary here in Davao City led by Mayor Sara Duterte.

In its 30 years, HFHP was able to provide homes to more than 140,000 families nationwide.

Challenges

HFHP is facing two challenges in its advocacy of building homes.

First is climate change. Visitacion said due to bad weather, construction works are impeded. Alongside with the homes, the needed basic services such as roads are also constructed. The works are stopped when bad weather strikes.

Second is the lack of land  to build homes. “We need to identify lands in order to build homes,” he said.

In Mindanao Fuentes said they need more of land banking though she said they are in close coordination with the local government units.

She said HFHP needs to unlock the availability of lands so it could build more homes and help more people.

In Davao City, Fuentes said they are happy Mayor Sara Duterte is supportive of HFHP’s advocacy and even joined in celebrating its 30th anniversary celebration held in Davao City in September this year.

What HFHP is pushing under the administration of President Duterte is its advocacy for land ownership.

The organization is happy the Duterte administration has identified shelter as one of its priorities.

HFHP has been in the Philippines since 1988. Over the years, it has supported more than 150,000 people to build or improve a place they can call home.

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