More Homes For More People
The program started in 1987 when Mayor Abalos spotted an idle and untitled land adjacent to the perimeter wall of the National Center for Mental Health. That same year, 250 units of two-storey houses with a lot area of 35 square meters each were built specifically for teachers, policemen, firemen, and other government workers. Since then, Mayor Abalos has constructed four more housing projects in Mandaluyong City under the program benefiting 844 families.
The program used several approaches namely: a) land acquisition for resale to tenants and those relocated from the PNR right of way; and b) building of condominiums and row houses for low income families especially those affected by calamities such as fire and those ejected from public and private lands. It aimed to build as many shelters as possible by constructing medium-rise condominiums to overcome the lack of available land in the city. The Office of the Mayor implemented the program through the Estate Management and Development Office (EMDO) which was created for the administration of the program. The private sector was also very supportive by augmenting government resources. For instance, the Mandaluyong Chamber of Commerce and Industry financed the construction of the first medium-rise condominium in 1992, the second housing project of the program. The housing units were awarded to qualified Mandaluyong City residents with SSS, GSIS or PAG-IBIG memberships who do not own any other land within or outside of Mandaluyong City, as determined by the Registry of Deeds. The program beneficiaries applied for loans from any of the government financing institutions. The low amortization rates made the loans affordable such as the monthly amortization of P800.00 per unit at the Fabella Street project as compared to the average apartment rental in Mandaluyong of P5,000.00 a month.
Because of this program, many people now live comfortably in decent homes which they can call their own. Addressing the basic need for shelter in a manner benefitting their human dignity rendered them more productive citizens. The program created pleasant communities that even increased the market value of the lots and further enhanced the image of Mandaluyong as a progressive business district. The success of the program showed that the local government units, not only the national government, can effectively implement mass housing projects.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1998 Galing Pook Awards.