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Rationale Communities started as people grouping themselves to secure basic necessities which include food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Over time, these communities developed into cities and urban areas brought about by technology advancement and the ever-changing needs of the people namely housing, food and basic services such as water and electricity, security and health care. In many communities, all of these basic services are not met resulting to problems such as informal settlement (widely known as squatting), poor sanitary condition (e.g. absence of toilets) and high crime rates (e.g. robbery and theft). As cities and urban areas are generally viewed capable of offering more opportunities, a local migration scenario is common in the country—people from the rural areas move to the bigger cities to seek for better employment or another source of living. For instance, a young college graduate from one of the provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao will seek job opportunities in bigger cities such as Manila and Cebu. As the population continues to grow brought about by the influx of people, congestion became an unavoidable problem in urban areas. Obviously, the new settlers’ lack of land property within urban areas is the reason of informal settling. Settlement became a major problem and even reached the
point that it seemed uncontrollable. Like any cities and barangays in the Philippines, the city of Cebu also faces the same problem of congestion and informal settlement. As the second largest city in the Philippines, in terms of economic activity, population migration is not surprising. The Cebu City government in general and its comprising barangays in particular have their respective stories to tell revolving around the issue on informal settlement. One of the identified communities of informal
settlers in Cebu City is located in barangay Lorega-San Miguel,
particularly those living within the Old Municipal Cemetery. Within it, ironically a place where the dead rests, houses (classified as illegal structures) served
Photo 1: Actual View of a basketball playing area inside the cemetery
as homes for the living. In a report published in Sun.Star Cebu newspaper
dated July 10, 2010, it was stated that for many years now, the cemetery has been home to urban poor families who have built their homes on top of tombs. Moreover, among these illegal structures, 91 have tombs underneath the house. Sixty tombs still have cadavers, while the other 31 are empty (KAL/RRF, 2010). Hence, it is a fact that these people live in an inappropriate site for settlement. As the area is not made for people to live in, problems on health and sanitation among others arise.
Theoretical Background The study has its basis on the concept of human settlement in the Philippine Constitution, which states that every Filipinos has a right to quality of life. With this, having a decent land and domicile for the latter to uplift and prosper himself is of great importance and is one of his basic needs. This need, part of the other basic elements of human living settlement, is particularly stressed out in the Ekistics theory which is proposed as the science of human settlements by a Greek architect and urban planner named Constantinos A. Doxiadis. In his theory, he explained that man, part of a living organism which is the community, has his needs and these needs must be addressed. In addressing such needs, he is able to survive and set himself as a factor influencing other elements comprising the community. One of these elements which have a bearing on man’s survival is the shell which refers to body covering and a house or a domicile. This has become a very important property that the latter should have to protect him from the danger the outside world may bring. Similar to this, the occupants in Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery also has this perception of a house or domicile where they and their families are secured. As much as this need became prevalent, arriving on a solution which would satisfy these people’s need is also a matter of considering the existing factors within the locality of Cebu City. These factors that were considered on the solution were as follows: the government agencies, department and sections namely the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), the City Planning and Development Council, the Local Government of Lorega-San Miguel; the non-government organizations in the likes of the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, the Action for Nurturing Children and Environment (ANCE); the most importantly the existing laws are ordinances that could affect the solution on accommodating the occupants of the cemetery on Lorega-San Miguel. Figure one below shows the above mention.
ACCOMMODATION OF SETTLERS IN LOREGA- SAN MIGUEL CEMETERY
Non- Government Organization Homeowner’s Association- UCESIRA or the United Cemetery Side Residents Association Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc. Action for Nurturing Children and the Environment (ANCE)
Existing Laws and Ordinances BP 220 of the Socialized and Economic Housing Act PD 1096- The National Building Code of the Philippines PD 1185- The Fire Code of the Philippines PD 957- The Condominium and Subdivision Buyers Protective Decree RA 7279- The Urban Development and
Government Agencies, Department and Sections Division for the welfare of the urban poor Department of Social Welfare and Development City Planning Office Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board Lorega Local Government Unit Proponents of the
FIGURE 1: A diagram on the factors affecting the accommodation of settlers in Lorega-San Miguel Municipal Cemetery
Significance of the Study Any project undertaken always has impacts on people and the environment. This study is for the provision of better accommodation and housing for the informal settlers of barangay Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery and for security of the health and well-being of the people. Resolving informal settlers as one of the pressing community issues is likewise seen as a good blueprint to serve as inspiration and guiding document in addressing matters of and relating to informal settlement. Specifically, the study is most significant to the following entities: Residents of the Cemetery grounds: This is most beneficial to these people in as much as the solution to the problem of informal settling will determine the capacity to reside permanently within the cemetery grounds. Cebu City Government: With the possible accommodation of residents in the cemetery grounds, the implementation of a statute of disallowing cemeteries within urban areas is clearly implemented. Likewise, the problem of informal settlers gets to be resolved through the joint effort of the city and the community. Local Government of Lorega-San Miguel: With this, barangay officials may become aware and vigilant in the approach of this certain problem and that, on the onset of informal settling, they may be able to nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.
Public: Through this, there is clear delineation of land use and that the public is made aware that the Lorega-San Miguel municipal cemetery is no more and that the grounds have been made to accommodate “live” people as residents who are monitored by LGU units; thus, appeasing the public that no shady characters abound the area.
THE PROBLEM Statement of the Problem Giving these informal settlers better housing condition is a matter that the City Government has to address. However, the lack of these people in terms of land property in an urban area like Cebu City poses an explicit constraint in carrying out this responsibility. This matter is considered alongside the influx of people in the city. However, the issue on land property can be addressed with a better strategy on accommodating these people. It is on this regard that the thesis proponents believed that turning these informal settlers into formal settlers is possible. As steps to achieve this goal, the following sub-problems should be addressed: 1. When did these occupants start to reside inside the cemetery grounds?
2. What are the reasons for migration of these residents from the rural to urban cemetery grounds? 3. How many settlers, in terms of families, have been identified to reside the Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery? 4. What economic activity/ies are indulged in by the residents? 5. What is the condition of the area like? 6. Has government taken action on the plight of the residents of the cemetery?
7. Is the cemetery, in terms of property ownership, a government or privately
8. Is the particular undertaking, a project acceptable to the local residents
outside the cemetery grounds?
Scope and Limitations The study covered the identified residents of the municipal cemetery, located in barangay Lorega-San Miguel. Moreover, data on living conditions have limited to the government agencies, departments and sections in the likes of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), City Planning and Development Council, Geographic Information
System (GIS) and the local government of Lorega-San Miguel; and the nongovernment organizations: Action for Nurturing Children and Environment (ANCE) and Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (GK CDF); and the United Cemetery Side Residents Association as respondents to vital information on the problems on property through interviews and surveys. The study was undertaken on June 2010 to February 2010. Definition of Terms Cemetery: a site intended for burials of the deceased Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery: is a municipal cemetery located in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel. Also known as General Echavez Old Cemetery it came into its current land use as a cemetery due to the reason of accommodating non-Catholic burials in the past. With basis on zoning, it was classified as commercial and as its name clearly suggests, it is a place for the dead. However, there are people occupying within its grounds. Tenement: a term used on an apartment building for rent or rent to own that meets the minimum standards of comfort and safety (MerriamWebster Dictionary, 1991) Tenement Housing: a vertical development housing or apartment building
provided by the Government as a program to the poor and marginalized sector
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Method The study used the descriptive method in which clerical and mechanical tools were applied in the data collection. Include in the tools were interview guides, on-site observation checklist, Moreover, the gathered data and results obtained were then presented in a descriptively with supplementary documents such as photos and hand written notes. Environment Lorega-San Miguel Municipal Cemetery is a government owned lot which was the selected site of the study. It came into its use due to the need of nonCatholic people to bury their deceased loved ones in another area apart from the nearest Catholic burial site including Carreta Catholic Cemetery. These nonCatholics were urged by this need because burying their dead loved ones in Catholic cemeteries would be costly for them, and by tradition, it had been a norm for us Filipinos to separate the Catholic and non-Catholic burials which was an influenced from the Spanish colonizers. As much as it serves its use in the present, a problem on informal settling came into the picture.
Currently, there are people occupying the cemetery grounds and these people have been living the area since 1960’s. Even the area was an inappropriate site for human settlement, as local news reports describe that most houses are built on top or beside tombs; the occupants still dwelt on it because it was the nearest place to set up their homes from their workplace and it was an area they knew that can accommodate them within the city. Moreover, they also found the place less hassling because they don’t have to pay rentals for it. Due to this circumstance, an outbreak on scabies happened as these people dwelt within the cemetery grounds. Scabies, also known in the vernacular language as kagid-kagid, caused by a bacteria became a rampant skin disease for the occupants. With this, the people became aware of the threat that may affect them by living inside a cemetery. Given options on avoiding this threat through relocation, they also became unreceptive on such idea. As a result, these people requested for a legislation to happen on converting the site into a residential area, and on July 09, 2010, a resolution on the closure of the cemetery was passed and with it, the project on housing was pushed through. At this point of time, the Cebu City government is on its phase of removing and transferring the remains of those tombs which will be affected by the housing development. Respondents The occupants of the municipal cemetery were the respondents of the study. In addition, they were usually the ones who were screened and got
passed as legitimate beneficiaries of the project and members of the UCESIRA, a homeowner’s association within the cemetery. Tools Procedure As what had been discussed previously, the tools used were the clerical and mechanical. Under the clerical tool, instruments that were included were the interview guides and observation checklist. Interview guides were made as an option to survey questionnaires due to the fact that the intended respondents were those identified as members of the UCESIRA and those who passed the screening made by the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor. As these respondents were already identified, the researchers still had to make interviews to identify more beneficiaries that had not been listed as a member of the association within the cemetery. In it questions were crafted carefully by the researchers to obtain data from these people. Prior to this, a letter of request had been made and received by the people through their association. The interviews were scheduled prior to the deadline on the data presentation and were done casually. To gather more substantial data, the researchers also attended meetings held at the UCESIRA office every Sundays and note what were the updates and activities the members were up into. On-site observation checklist was a researcher-made list used to identify existing elements within the site. This was an important tool on obtaining pertinent data particularly from the site for it would have a bearing on the solution of the problem particularly on the physical aspects. In it, list of existing structures,
utility line and services, vegetations and type, the site characteristics and condition, the current tomb and dwelling pattern of the site and other physical attributes of the site were listed and were marked as present or absent. This instrument aside from the interviews made was scheduled prior to the submission of data presentation and was used on site visitations. Under the mechanical tool, included instruments were photographic cameras and voice recorders. These were used alongside with the interviews and on-site observations to document data. The camera was used extensively to document the existing condition of the site, during interviews and at every Sunday meetings at the UCESIRA office. The voice recorders were used during interviews for purposes of documentation. Handwritten notes were also made in the absence of the voice recorder. Scoring Method Since the study did not used any survey questionnaires, scoring of the data obtained were not based quantitatively, rather it was more of the qualitative method wherein, the substantiality of the data relied on the appropriate respondents and interviewee the researchers selected. Moreover, the
identification of the stakeholders became an obvious factor of not using survey questionnaires. Hence, the latter became a matter that the researchers had to consider less since the data collection were intended to obtain more beneficiaries of the project and their preferences.
On the other hand, the on-site observation checklist was an instrument used on checking the condition of the site and the characteristics of its elements. No tallying had to be made in this instrument, since it only presented the existence and absence of necessary elements the site had.
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES Settlement as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary is an act or process of settling, has been a prevalent activity or phenomenon caused by behaviors. Particularly, in humans, this occurs due the latter’s need for food, water, shelter and many others. With this, people tend to move from one place to another in search for their basic needs to survive. It was in this manner that nomadic life was an apparent settlement. But later, as these people learned new things and started to develop new technologies which would help in their means for survival, permanent settlements known as agricultural village were established. From this, towns and cities were later developed and
industrialization happened. At this point of time, factories and industries came along which generated employment, and also caused the influx of people towards the industrial cities. These would have been beneficial to industries which requires workforce. However, the influx of people also caused problems instigated in the likes of accommodation and housing of these new settlers, and
because of these settlers’ lack of land properties with the city, settlements known as squatting happened.
In the process of human settlements, there must have been an identified site which is suitable for human living. This site should have also been possessed by the settlers wherein they should have legal evidences of the site or land ownership. This process supposedly must have happened in the Philippines, but, it did not for many reasons. One is that laws and local statues addressing human settlements were not that firm on imposing strict rules against squatting. Another was that, zoning of lands according to its pre-empted use was not strictly followed. Others are by political reasons. In effect, informal settlers increased their numbers, and as time passed, these people became unreceptive when ask to move out of their areas. In terms of planning, this was so because of the mere truth that these people had already established themselves on the areas they have lived. Moreover, the idea of evicting these people from there homes would be like uprooting an aged tree from its location, causing detrimental effects to the latter. Hence, evicting this people from the land they do not own is less an effective solution in solving illegal settlements in urban areas. With this growing problem in urban areas,
particularly in the Philippines, the government has to promulgate laws to address it. In this scenario, an act, known as the Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 was promulgated. Also known as the Lina
Law, it had already been made to protect these settlers from being evicted from the properties they are squatting and provide guidelines on providing resettlements on the particular beneficiaries. This act was promulgated since 1986 by then Senator Jose ‘Joey’ Lina, which states that informal settlers living on lands they do not own for 30 years and over from the time the law’s promulgation are protected from any means of eviction. Whereby, in the event that these settlers have to be moved out from the properties they are squatting due to a valid cause, the government will mediate and shall help these people for resettlement. However, people who were not covered with this law are not
protected and are subject to eviction. As what has been published in SunStar News, a local newspaper; “Cebu City Hall will demolish illegal structures along Cebu City’s riverbanks and it will not provide relocation sites to affected families”(PDF, 2010). These planned actions were done on the matters of discouraging illegal settlers and most importantly, securing the safety of these people. However, the truth that these informal settlers which were regarded as the Urban Poor has probably no more fundamental problem than their inability to access decent, secure lands for even the most minimum housing needs. Access to land is an inseparable ingredient in a poor household to survive, earn, thrive and lift itself out of poverty. Evicting households might be an effective way of clearing land for other uses, but in almost any eviction, the poor are the greatest losers: they loose the houses that they have invested in, they often loose their jobs, their belongings, their building materials and their social support systems. Plus, evicting informal settlements reduces the city’s stock of affordable housing
and instead of solving the problem simply moves it elsewhere, at very high social, economic and political costs (UN Human Settlements Program and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2008). Hence, the government still has to find ways in dealing with this people in a manner that it is not violent and is beneficial on part of the land owners and the informal settlers. As mitigating measures are also tried to be used in addressing issues on informal settlements, so are other Local statutes and National Laws which has concerns on this matter also had to be considered and implemented. Primarily, these laws were made to provide guidelines on how to make settlements appropriate for the people who will be involved. One of these is the Socialized and Economic Housing Law, also known as Batas Pambansa bilang 220 which is “an act authorizing the ministry of human settlements to establish and promulgate different levels of standards and technical requirements for economic and socialized housing projects in urban and rural areas from those provided under presidential decrees numbered nine hundred fifty-seven, twelve hundred sixteen, ten hundred ninety-six and eleven hundred eighty-five.” With this law, guidelines and standards on how to settle informal settlers through low cost housing are provided, and as stated, this law also correlates with other laws established which the following are: PD no. 957 or the subdivision and condominium buyers’ protective decree which shall “regulating the sale of subdivision lots and condominiums, providing penalties for violations thereof, PD 1096 also known as the National Building Code of the Philippines that shall regulate the implementation of buildings in line with the accommodation of the
settlers, PD 1185- The Fire Code of the Philippines, which sets out guidelines in developing safe structures and buildings against fire, BP 344- The Accessibility Law of which is a law that sets guidelines on incorporating physical features that would provide and encourage access to persons with disabilities, “to put them back on the mainstream of society”. With these Republic Acts and laws, accommodating informal settlers in urban areas though housing and resettlements is made possible. However, with the constraint on a limited area that a city has, efficient housing and resettlement strategies should be considered. Particularly in Cebu City, a highly urbanized city with a prevalent problem on informal settling, there is less land available to accommodate these people. Hence, tenement housing is an option. As traced from history, a tenement has been in its existence since the ancient times, particularly the Romans, who housed in their slaves and the poor in this particular dwelling. Even in the later times, during the Industrial
Revolution, a third of low-income families lived in one room, as more highlanders crowded into tall tenement dwellings. This situation happened because Western Europe underwent a period of rapid urbanization: the number of people living in cities and towns grew more rapidly than did the percentage of people residing in the countryside (Merriman, 1996). In the Philippines, tenement housing is used to accommodate the marginalized sector of the society. Existing examples of such were in Manila, particularly in Tondo.
In Tondo, the well-known tenement housing is called the Punta Sta. Ana Tenement House built in 1965. It was the first urban government administration housing of project President under the
Macapagal. As cited from a blog posted by Howie Severino, this has been condemned
Photo 2: A child resident looking at the condemned Sta, Ana Tenement Housing in Tondo, Manila Source: GMANews.tv
for over 15 years, yet is still the crowded home of over 1000 families. Existing with
daily danger, they nevertheless take pride in not being squatters. The sevenstory high-rise is now a wretched symbol for what has gone wrong in the country since. When Marcos defeated Macapagal in 1965, the housing project was virtually abandoned by the government, identified as it was with the previous administration. But those who had been homeless and awarded units there, which they call condos, continue to live there and hope. Shortly after the earthquake of 1990, residents were told by government officials that the building was condemned and no longer livable. But hardly anyone left. Most have nowhere to go since the government offered no assistance for relocation. The National Housing Authority so far refuses to say if it has a plan for the residents, 17 years after the NHA itself declared it unsafe (Severino, 2007).
Another example of the same building type is also located in Tondo namely, the Jaime Cardinal Sin Village. It is a seven-storey building which was built recently by the Archdiocese of Manila, with the help of Gawad Kalinga for those who are less fortunate people.
PHOTO 3: A One Point Perspective View of the Jaime Cardinal Sin Village Tenement Housing Building Source: http:// urbanroamer.files.wordpress.com
accommodating the marginalized sector of
the Philippine society, the Cebu City government also envisioned tenement housing as a solution since the city has lesser lands to develop housing projects horizontally. With this, vertical development is a possible choice wherein the poor could still be accommodated. With the help of non-government organizations such as the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation and the Action for Nurturing Children and Environment, Cebu City is now pushing through the said development. The housing development However, the down-side of such
development is that the people would less likely to be used in living on a vertical housing since it is not one’s culture to reside on this type of development. Moreover, the fact that these people would rather live on shanty or exchange their awarded units for moneys is a problem that the Government had also to foresee.
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