From Purok to Barangay: Mapping Informality in Philippine Cities

18 November 2015

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By the Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, Inc.

The  Homeless People’s Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (HPFPI), commenced their settlement profiling and mapping in January 2015 during a learning exchange supported by the Indian Alliance. The exchange brought together participants from different regions of the country like the NCR, Cebu, Davao and Kidapawanin San Isidro, Jaro, and Iloilo City.  Since then, the Federation and their support staff have been actively mapping and profiling in three cities: Valenzuela, Davao and Iloilo City.

Erlinda Mosqueda, Valenzuela Peoples Organization Network (VALPONET), President/Community Worker, reflects:

“I had a good experience in doing settlement profiling and mapping. I learned how to use the GPS (Global Positioning System) device. Once I saw our settlement in the computer through the GPS device, I felt it was a success.

We also experienced many hardships. Our first step was to have a courtesy call to the head of the Barangay (the smallest government unit of the city) before going to the community. Some communities refused to be interviewed because they were afraid the data that will be gathered might be used against them. In spite of these struggles, we were able to interview 21 communities.

I saw the importance of doing settlement profiling and mapping, the use of new technology, and how to encode. At least we learned something. I felt happy.

Before I do not know also how to do the settlement profiling. Being president of our network, VALPONET, I want other leaders to know also how to interview using the settlement profiling form and now I am happy that there are already other community leaders who know how to interview using the settlement profiling form.

One of our challenges is that only one knows from our network how to upload the settlement profiling form in the computer. It is a challenge for us to learn how to use the computer because this is the trend now.

The important thing about doing the settlement profiling and mapping is when one community asks for their own data, the VALPONET is ready to give them.”  

Valenzuela City is part of the Metropolitan Manila, Philippines. Together with 16 other cities and a municipality it forms part of the most populous region in the Philippines. A total of 8 settlements have thus far been profiled by the federation. Six of these settlements are undeclared settlements with insecure land tenure with an estimated population of 17,121 persons. The Federation estimates that there are approximately 3,369 structures in total, of which about 376 are residential-cum-business structures and a further 129 full business structures. Businesses in settlements offer access to goods and services within the settlement and serve as a livelihood stream for many families.

 

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Davao City is a highly urbanised city and said to be the fourth most populous city in the Philippines. The federation has profiled a total of 6 slums thus far with an estimated population of 17,033 persons and an estimated 2657 structures in total of which 2,309 are residential. Securing land tenure is a priority in 5 of these settlements. Access to adequate sanitation and sewerage was named by the 6th settlement as their most important development priority.

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In Iloilo City the federation has profiled two communities thus far. The estimated total population in these communities is 2,261. Both of these settlements are undeclared, with insecure land tenure, security of tenure, and housing identified as the most important community development priorities.

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Of the 23 settlements the Philippine federations has profiled and documented thus far, 13 of these are currently facing eviction threats. Floods and strong winds have been listed as the most often occurring natural disasters.

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Interview using the informal settlement profile form

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Interview with barangay officials regarding barangay profile and boundary at Ungka Jaro, Iloilo