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Naga City Service Improvements

Naga City Service Improvements

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Published by adbwaterforall
Naga City Service Improvements
Naga City Service Improvements

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Published by: adbwaterforall on Jan 11, 2013
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In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Naga City was grappling with a serious urban poor problem thatis characteristic of any other rapidly-urbanizing city in the Philippines, even the world over.Originally called “Ciudad de Nueva Caceres,” Naga is one of the oldest cities in the country; andis considered the “heart of Bicol”. Since the Spanish times, it has been the center of trade andcommerce, education, religion and culture of the Bicol region (one of the Philippines’ fifteen [15]administrative regions; it is composed of six [6] provinces and seven [7] cities). Because of thischaracteristic, the city attracts rural migrants searching for better opportunities.These migrants usually do not have the wherewithal to acquire, at least, a decent home. According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), around 5,000 of Naga’s 19,500 households, in1990, could be classified as squatters and slum dwellers, almost double the figure in 1980.These urban poor families did not own their homelots, occupying, instead, private andgovernment property; lived in dilapidated shelters in blighted communities; and grappled withliving conditions characterized by congestion, squalor and lack of facilities and services. Withvery little resources coming from the central government, there was no program to uplift thesefamilies economically.Except during elections, the urban poor did not have a voice in government decision-making. Infact, the relationship among the city government, the urban poor and private landowners onissues involving land was adversarial and distinguished by frequent animosity. Cases of squatter eviction and ejection were rampant, and demolitions were commonplace.The local government was indifferent to the plight of the urban poor. This indifference primarilyshowed in the blighted condition of 27 urban poor communities which lacked basic servicessuch as shelter, potable water, street lights, pathways and drainage.
Kaantabay sa Kausawagan
Partners in Development 
is the city’s service delivery response tothis problem. It concretizes Naga’s “growth with equityphilosophy that tries to spur andmultiply economic growth and, at the same time, adopt a balanced development perspectivethat gives equal importance to equity-enhancing socio-economic programs.By addressing the urban poor phenomenon, the local government, aside from turning the cityinto one of the Philippines’ fastest-growing local economies-- with an average annual economicgrowth rate of 6.5%-- has been able to shape Naga into a livable city. In fact, the League of Cities of the Philippines calls it one of the most livable cities in the country. In 1999,
magazine named Naga one of the four 
Most Improved Cities in Asia
Kaantabay began on May 15, 1989 when the city organized its Urban Poor Affairs Office(UPAO), an agency primarily dedicated to addressing the plight of the city’s growing urban poor population.
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The program was a response to the clamor of nine (9) urban poor associations to improvefacilities and services in their communities. These issues were presented to then PresidentCorazon Aquino during her visit to the city in 1987. The associations also formalized their concerns in a manifesto submitted to all candidates during the 1988 local elections.Urban Poor MobilizationThe nine urban poor associations were organized through the efforts of the CommunityOrganization of the Philippines Enterprise (COPE), a non-government organization focusing onsocial and development work for the urban poor. COPE started operating in Naga in 1986.The 1986 EDSA Revolution gave rise to a myriad of non-government organizations that helpedcreate or strengthen civil society. Aside from delivering a wide range of social services thatgovernment could not more effectively provide, they moderated the power of the state, allowingspecific sectors to assert their own interests.COPE started work by mobilizing the urban poor community. This was in recognition of the factthat as individuals, the urban poor had virtually no voice in government decision-making. Yet,due to illiteracy, economic insecurity and a general lack of self-confidence, the poor could notorganize themselves without outside help. COPE educated urban poor communities on their rights. It delivered capability-building programs that enabled communities to identify andpropose solutions to their own problems, as well as equipped them to more effectivelyparticipate in governance and influence the over-all political process. It thus, became a catalystfor group formation, social mobilization and policy advocacy.The Local Government Code and LGU ResponseThe local government responded to the initiatives of COPE and the urban poor associationswith an “enlightened perception of the poor.” This recognizes the poor’s right to associate anddeal with government rather than offering traditional and bureaucratic solutions to urban poor problems. It also acknowledges that empowering the poor is in the interest of governmentrather than a threat to its prerogatives. The poor can be “partners in development” (thus, the
Kaantabay sa Kauswagan
program name).Elected on a platform of progressive leadership with “growth with equity” as a developmentfocus, the city government initiated dialogues and allocated resources to uplift living conditionsin slums. However, while it was generally acknowledged that the issues of land tenure andpoverty (for as long as the poor suffer from extreme deprivation, it is unlikely that they will beable to engage government effectively) also had to be addressed, the local government hadvery little resources to tackle these problems. The task of urban housing development was,likewise, primarily lodged in a national government agency.The 1991 Local Government Code (LGC) allowed the city government to more squarelyaddress the urban poor phenomenon. It devolved the housing function to local governments,thus, putting them in the frontline. It gave LGUs the responsibility of formulating their owndevelopment plans and managing their implementation, coupled with increased resourceallocation. More importantly, the Code established a legally-sanctioned structure of decentralized governance within which the community and local organizations could play a role.
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Institutionalization of KaantabayThe 1991 LGC, and inputs from NGOs and the urban poor themselves, gave rise to the presentmenu of 
Kaantabay sa Kauswagan
services. From merely addressing needs for improvingfacilities and delivering basic infrastructure, it has become a mechanism that aims to provide
solutions to all land tenurial problems involving the urban poor and mainstream thelatter in development 
.The program currently has three (3) major goals:1.
Normalization and/or regularization.
By addressing land tenure issues relative tohomelots for the urban poor of Naga—through a functional tripartite mechanism for settlingdisputes—the program seeks to give urban poor communities a sense of permanence andlegitimacy over their occupied landholding, either on-site or off-site.2.
Poverty reduction.
By helping the urban poor of Naga build capital, mainly by transferringtitle of their homelots over time, the program seeks to promote socioeconomicempowerment of the urban poor.3.
Urban upgrading.
To complement the tenurial aspect, the program also seeks to facilitateupgrading of blighted communities by providing them basic infrastructure and facilities,thereby restoring decency, ease and comfort to daily life.To attain these goals, the program has the following major components:
Land Acquisition and Development 
which may be:
which is designed to avoid the dislocation of the urban poor occupants
currently living in privately-owned land
. This involves the acquisition by the citygovernment from the private landowner of the land occupied by the urban poor beneficiaries, subdividing it among the occupants, and developing the site through theconstruction of additional infrastructure facilities. The occupants then amortize the costof the land to the city government.
- that is intended to provide a safety net for victims of eviction or demolition.This involves the acquisition and development of land where urban poor families are tobe relocated. The strategies are:
Establishment of Relocation/Resettlement Sites.
This involves acquiringproperties either through direct purchase or land swapping, consolidating anddeveloping them as relocation sites for victims of eviction and demolition. In caseswhere the consolidated lot is underutilized, the site is opened for resettlement of urban poor families who want to acquire a homelot of their own.
Disposition of Public Lands.
Through an authorization from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, allowing the city to supervise the disposition of public lands within its territorial jurisdiction, urban poor families are prioritized asbeneficiaries of such disposable public lands.
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