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Robredo to grace housing confab

GENERAL SANTOS City — Around 400 local stakeholders will gather on Thursday for the city’s housing summit that will be graced by Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

Mary Ann Bacar, head of the City Housing and Land Management Office, said yesterday the city government is all set for the summit, which will mainly focus on addressing various issues and concerns on housing in the city.

She said the summit, which will be held at the KCC Mall Convention Center, will be joined by national and local government officials and representatives from the urban poor and informal settlers sectors.

The gathering is a joint initiative of the city government and the Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

“Its main objective is to embark on a participatory approach on addressing the city’s shelter and urban development challenges,” she said.

Bacar said the local government will present results of the five focus group discussions (FGDs) that it had conducted in line with the city’s housing concerns.

The FGDs covered issues and concerns on land and housing, including the city’s relocation or resettlement program, she said.

She said it tackled the plight of the city’s urban poor and informal settlers, who are considered as the “beneficiaries of the summit.”

Aside from Vice President Robredo, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chairperson Terry Ridon and Habitat for Humanity Philippines chief executive officer and managing director Charlito Ayco have confirmed their attendance.

Ridon, who is a former Kabataan partylist representative, will present the government’s response to “poverty housing in blighted areas.”

Ayco will discuss the group’s concrete responses to poverty housing and its experiences as a housing non-government organization (NGO).

Vice President Robredo will tackle the national government’s harmonization of “efforts towards the effective resolution of poverty housing in our country.”

She will also lead the awarding of titles for beneficiaries of the Community Mortgage Program in the city.

Bacar said the summit will be capped by the signing of commitments for various undertakings on addressing the city’s housing and shelter concerns by representatives of key shelter agencies, local stakeholders, NGOs, civil society organizations, religious groups and the academe. (pna)

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