Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 2: An Urban Policy Perspective

Today, several of us (namely the Urban Policy Team, Cree, Kasia, and Tony) got to visit Baseco, which is the largest squatter settlement area of Manila in the Tondo area. We were guided by the local government district (also known as barangays) police members to visit the slum communities. We split into 2 groups and were able to interview residents with the help of Cree and Marco's excellent Tagalog skills.

This was by far the most special moment of the week for me personally because it reminded me of why I wanted to join IEDP and work in the field of development in the first place: to address poverty ramifications in real lives. Visiting Baseco was an integral part of the Urban Policy Team's research and understanding of slums, housing inequality, and the informal sector because we finally got to hear what the community members' experiences are and what areas they seek improvement in.

After Baseco, we visited Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga, an NGO dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest of the poor. After Tony, we met with the National Housing Authority (NHA), which administers the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), which is our government program of interest for our policy paper.

Meeting the slum community members, an NGO leader, and the government agency workers was truly a comprehensive and enlightening experience. The different aspects, concerns, and attempts in addressing the issue of poverty and housing inequality were highlighted. Rather than seek a single policy or program to rely on as the "cure-all" to this issue, the team was reminded of the complexities of this field, and how different pieces and sectors must work to make the most of limited resources.

Unfortunately I do not have the means nor time to post photos... but they will be posted soon!

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