December 8, 2022

The city government has mapped about 60 percent of Baguio’s informal settlers on protected areas and identified city land needs to generate a registry as a basis in identifying priority beneficiaries of future socialized housing projects.
The City Planning and Development Office is leading the mapping of informal settlers in coordination with several departments of the city government.
This is in preparation for possible socialized housing developments in the city funded by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) similar to the ongoing construction of the Luna Terraces Housing project in Irisan with 270 units.
Architect Donna Tabangin said they mapped 866 families living along fault lines, river, and creek easements; 175 within the buffer zone of the Loakan Airport; 605 in Busol watershed; and 277 families listed by the units of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
The lists will still be subjected to further assessment, validation, and geo-tagging by the CPDO using the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the digital twin, which is a virtual representation of natural covers and structures. The list will also be cross-matched with the data gathered through the Community-Based Monitoring System project.
Tabangin said they have been working with the barangays in data gathering of informal settlers in the city, but certain barangays in the city refused to submit their list of informal settlers.
The team is yet to assess and validate informal settlers within the public cemetery reservation, slaughterhouse compound, sewerage treatment plant area, and other forest reservations and properties identified as city land needs.
“We need to complete our registry of informal settlers in the city to serve as our basis in planning and identifying who are our priority beneficiaries on socialized housing projects. We hope once we complete the registry of informal settlers, this will no longer increase,” Tabangin said.
The NHA defines informal settler families as those residing in danger areas, such as waterways and road rights-of-way; those to be displaced from sites earmarked for government infrastructure developments; those affected by calamities for relocation to safer areas; and thos subject of court orders for demolition and eviction.
Section 16, Article 5 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban and Development Act listed the following qualifications to be considered for housing assistance as Filipino citizen of legal age; underprivileged and homeless citizen whose average monthly income or combined family income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic Development Authority at P168,108 per year for a family of five; does not own any real property whether in the urban or rural areas and must not have been a beneficiary of any government housing program except those in leasehold or rental arrangements; not a professional squatter nor a member of a squatting syndicate; and head of the family. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan