Disiplina Village: Bagong Bahay, Bagong Buhay
Valenzuela City was not spared from the devastating effects of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. With close to a thousand informal settler families (ISF) living in danger zones, specifically along the banks of Tullahan River, the City Government called on the private sector to assist in providing safer accommodations to the affected communities.
The housing project, Disiplina Village, was built in a 1.9 hectare property in Barangay Ugong donated by the City Government with the support of the private sector in the construction of housing units. San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through its social development arm, San Miguel Foundation, Inc. (SMF), donated PhP 45 million, at PhP 15 Million per year for the next three years, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility program to build more than 300 housing units. The National Housing Authority also came into the program and helped build over 250 housing units. Another Disiplina Village was established in Barangay Bignay to accommodate around 3,000 informal settlers left living in danger zones.
With a total of 13 hectares, the Disiplina Village Ugong and Bignay accommodate around 4,594 informal settler families, clearing up Valenzuela City from ISFs living in danger zones. The floor area of each unit is 28 sq. m. including the loft.
MERALCO, through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, One Meralco Foundation, has partnered with the city government in providing energy to light the housing buildings. They have been lighting Disiplina Village since October 2011. A PhP 13.8 million pipe-laying project in partnership with Maynilad was also completed in May 2012 for the Disiplina Village Ugong. Both villages have decent electricity and water connection. The Disiplina Village is the first in-city relocation site that is a complete community. DV-Ugong has its own Day Care Center, and is practically within walking distance to schools and health facilities. DVB, on the other hand, has its own city hall annex, the Sentro ng Sama-Samang Serbisyo (3S Center), that has a health center, Police Community Precinct, Fire Substation, Barangay Hall and Daycare Center.
The Disiplina Village Bignay Elementary and High School can also be found in the village. There is also an activity center and covered court as well as a mini park where residents can spend their leisure time and children their play time. Future infrastructures include a public market, transport terminal, and a chapel.
Moreover, Gawad Kalinga organized values formation programs, implementation of the community development plan and mentoring of the community leaders towards self-governance. The beneficiaries of both villages also participate in community empowerment programs conducted by the city government. Programs like the Kapitbahayan Training or values formation program, Parent-Effectiveness Service, Community Development Plan implementation and mentoring of the community leaders towards self-governance were set up. They are also taught skills and trade, such as financial literacy and livelihood skills (vegetable farming and tofu production). To ensure full participation of the residents in community-building, an Executive Order created the Valenzuela Disiplina Village Council, which became the venue for the residents to participate in the implementation of the project.
To ensure transferability and sustainability of the program, the “Ordinance Establishing Disiplina Village as the Flagship Socialized Housing Program of Valenzuela City”, Ordinance No. 36, Series of 2011 was enacted by the City Council, that included provisions on basic services and funding being the responsibility of the city government to sustain a very low rental cost of only PhP 300, the lowest rate in a public rental housing project in the country. This is comparatively lower than the monthly rental of other public housing projects which is between PhP 700 to PhP 3,000 as well as the average monthly rental for a private apartment unit of the same floor area, which is about PhP3,000 to PhP4,000.
One unique component in the implementation of the program is the Home Space Agreement which binds the beneficiaries to agreed policies and guidelines which include the commitment of residents in maintaining their housing units, cultivating good relations with neighbors, fulfilling their payment obligations, and participation in the “sweat equity” system. This system requires individuals to render service of at least 500 hours in the construction and safekeeping/maintenance of building units as well as participation in community-building activities.
Aside from ensuring safe, affordable, decent and humane housing for informal settlers, the on-site and in-city relocation approach of the program ensures that beneficiaries are linked to their sources of livelihood and have access to more employment opportunities.