February 1, 2023

Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. has proposed an ordinance that sought to create an office craft programs for the urban poor.

The proposed City Urban Poor Affairs Office (Cupao) will be tasked to prepare and implement a comprehensive shelter program for the city; come up with an inventory of all lands and identify suitable sites in urban and “urbanizable” areas for socialized housing for underprivileged and homeless citizens; determine qualified beneficiaries for security of tenure; monitor the registration of eligible socialized housing beneficiaries undertaken at the city/barangay level by the City Land Needs Identification Committee; and implement programs to alleviate the plight of the urban poor communities

The proposed office shall be composed of four sections: Administrative and Planning Section, Legal Section, Engineering Section, and Community Organizing Section. 

The Administrative and Planning Section shall prepare annual plans and programs to be implemented by the Cupao consistent with the policy of the City Development Council. It shall also administer and monitor the proper implementation of each program.

The Legal Section shall handle all legal affairs of the Cupao, recommend to the Baguio City Urban Housing Board the filing of complaints against professional squatters, and assist potential beneficiaries who are being evicted by landowners.

The Engineering Section shall handle all the engineering affairs of the Cupao including but not limited to the conduct of preliminary survey and topographic survey preparation of schematic plans, the conduct of engineering research consultation plans concerning socialized housing projects, and the rendering of technical assistance to the other three divisions.

The Community Organizing Section shall handle all community related work of the Cupao including the conduct of barangay orientation of the city’s urban poor dwellers, barangay registration of the urban dwellers in preparation of the master list of identified possible beneficiaries, barangay census and tagging operation of the urban dwellers to verify the validity of identified possible beneficiaries, group discussions and consultations among the urban dwellers on issues related to squatting, and the creation of urban poor community associations.

An amount of P5 million shall be appropriated yearly in the city’s annual budget for the enactment of the ordinance. 

Yangot cited Section 6 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, which states that there shall be a National Urban Development and Housing Framework to be formulated by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board under the direction of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in coordination with the local government unit and other concerned public and private sectors.

Yangot said the creation of the City Urban Poor Affairs Office shall ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of the RA 7279.

The proposal was approved on first reading and was referred to the committee on ethics, governmental affairs, and personnel.

Yangot earlier proposed a similar ordinance, which sought to establish the City Housing and Urban Development Board.  – Jordan G. Habbiling