NEWS: “Anti-Urban Poor” Ordinance reaches SP

Legislation seeks to defer approval

of urban poor housing for 5 years

oct 28

TAGUM CITY – Two weeks after the controversial Purok Ordinance of the City Hall was unanimously junked by Davao del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan, another city ordinance considered by several quarters here as ”contentious” and critics as “anti-urban poor” reached yesterday at the provincial board in its 48th regular session.

Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio immediately referred City Council Ordinance No. 320 to the SP committee on human settlements, planning and development chaired by Boardmember Roger Israel as the lead committee and to the committee on laws, resolutions, ordinance and justice chaired by Boardmember Artemio San Juan.

Dubbed by critics as “Anti-Urban Poor Ordinance”, the new legislation reaching the provincial board, which recently smarted from its act of finally junking the controversial Purok Ordinance, is seeking to defer for a period of five years the issuance of accreditation and approval of permits and other requirements by the City Hall for urban poor subdivision housing projects.

It appeared to have been passed at the city council without much fuss, and suddenly it reached at the SP secretariat last October 22.

It was authored and pushed by Councilor Nicandro “Nickel” Suaybaguio as initiated by the city executive department. He is a nephew of the presiding vice governor.

But the young Suaybaguio,  in a phone interview yesterday, said that the city council had passed it in two sessions, the first one of which was followed by a public hearing attended by representatives of shelter agencies and the affected sectors.

He said that his measure was approved by the city council last September 22 and that for a month it was at the city council secretariat which had worked on its long minutes and proceedings.

Yesterday, urban poor leader Gregorio “Loloy” Ibanez said in text message that Suaybaguio’s ordinance “is anti-urban poor for being contrary to the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) and executive order of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government and to the policy of the Presidential Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP)”.

He vowed that he himself will make a petition to oppose it at the SP level.

Ibanez is the executive director of the Davao del Norte Urban Poor Foundation, Inc. He is also the president of the Davao del Norte Press. Radio and TV Club.

Earlier, in one report of a weekly paper, District 1 Congressman Arrel Olano branded as “anti poor” the ordinance that would evidently stop him from carrying out land acquisition projects for the urban poor which he has been funding out from a congressional fund.

Sidlak clarified also with Vice Mayor Allan Rellon an earlier report that the urban poor ordinance would have still to be fully sponsored by Suaybaguio saying that he was confused on the question posed to him by the media adding that it mixed up with the preoccupation of the city council of also formulating a revised comprehensive ordinance on the city’s land use.

Earlier also, Vice Gov. Suaybaguio said he would not inhibit from the deliberations on the ordinance authored and pushed by his nephew, adding that the rule of the majority would prevail  He presided when the Purok Ordinance was unanimously junked by his boardmembers.

The urban poor ordinance has invoked the ground that that urban poor subdivisions and informal settlements in the city are not livable due to inadequacies of basic community facilities and services such as road, water, electricity and have low occupancy rate.

The young Suaybaguio earlier said that the deferment could be “automatically lifted” if a high occupancy rate of existing urban poor housing projects could be attained.

He also said that several existing urban housing projects whose requirements are on process are included in the exemption clause of the ordinance.

But critics also charged that the ordinance is “a class legislation” saying that it favored the rich subdivision developers and would stop informal housing for the poor in the city like the Habitat and the Gawad Kalinga projects initiated by the religious.

They said that the urban poor housing projects instead contributed to solve the city’s acute housing backlog of at least 28,000 families per projection of the City Comprehensive and Development Plan (2001-2010). (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) http://ruralurbanews.blogspot.com

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