TAO-Pilipinas carried out this year’s Young Professionals (YP) Workshop on Social Housing from May 24 to 29 in Quezon City. Under the theme: “Planning for Climate and Disaster-resilient Urban Poor Communities”, the 2017 YP Workshop featured a series of lecture sessions and community immersion activities. TAO-Pilipinas collaborated with Foundation for Development Alternatives, Inc. (FDA) and Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Parish to execute the project in the urban poor areas of the parish in Barangay Tandang Sora, Quezon City.
The workshop had a total of 34 participants composed of 19 young professionals (YPs) and 15 community representatives. Among the YP participants were seven undergraduate architecture students, three architecture graduates, four licensed architects, one landscape architect, one community organizer, and three representatives from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP). Architecture students, graduates, and licensed architects were from University of Santo Tomas (UST), University of the Philippines (UP), Far Eastern University (FEU), and Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP). Community representatives were from the three kawan areas of Santuario de San Vicente de Paul Parish.
The six-day workshop on social housing aimed to build the capacity of YPs in providing technical design support to poor communities working toward shelter security and sustainable settlements. The program of activities combined two levels of training – theory (lecture sessions) and practicum (community immersion).
The YP Workshop kicked off with a series of lecture sessions that were held on May 24 and 25 at Felipa Hall, Max’s Restaurant, Quezon City Circle. Various resource speakers were invited to discuss topics that would equip the participants with fundamental knowledge for the community immersion stage. Participatory activities were also integrated during the first two days to make the participants actively involved in the workshop.
The keynote lecture was delivered by Ms. Ana Dizon, a Board of Trustees Member of TAO-Pilipinas. Her presentation, entitled “Making a Difference: The Challenge of Housing the Urban Poor and the Role of Young Design Professionals”, addressed the gap between conventional architecture and urban poor housing. She also talked about the emergence and evolution of a new role in the design profession – the “architecture of empowerment”. The practice involved designing “for” and “with” the urban poor communities.
Four sessions followed the keynote speech. The first one featured two lectures that gave an overview on social housing: “Philippine Housing Situationer” by Atty. Junefe Payot of Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and “BP 220: Planning and Design Standards for Social Housing” by Engr. Lorena Hernandez of TAO-Pilipinas.
The second session comprised three lectures that tackled climate and disaster risks: “Key Concepts in DRRM” by Arch. Angelus Sales of TAO-Pilipinas; “Implications of Climate Change-related Risks to Human Settlements Development” by Arch./EnP. Arlene Lusterio of TAO-Pilipinas; and “Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacities of the Urban Poor in Metro Manila” by Mr. Benedict Balderrama of Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA).
The third lecture session focused on building sustainable and resilient communities. The three lectures discussed were “Disaster-resilient Design Concept in Settlements Planning and Development” by Arch. Verna Sarraga of TAO-Pilipinas; “Creating Urban Resilience Through Retrofitting” by Ms. Maribel Larracochea and Engr. Clint Gabilo of Build Change; and “Low Carbon Communities” by Mr. Francis Dela Cruz of Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).
The final session oriented the participants on the community consultation workshop that they would facilitate later in the community immersion stage. The session included: “Communicating Technical Knowledge to Communities” by Arch./EnP. Geraldine Matabang; “Presentation of FEP Survey Results” by Ms. Dominga Damian of FDA; “Profiles of the Community Immersion Areas” by Ms. Marissa Tinao, Ms. Rosemarie Pascual, and Ms. Lucia Singew, BEC leaders of Santuario Parish; and “The Community Workshop Process and Guidance to Facilitation” by Arch. Sales.
On the third day of the YP Workshop, the community immersion experience of the YP participants began. First, they had a site visit to two socialized housing sites in Novaliches, Quezon City in the morning. After the lunch break, the YP participants immediately went to the community immersion area which is the three kawan under the parish of Santuario de San Vicente de Paul in Brgy. Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The YP participants were divided into three YP Teams; one team for each kawan. Each YP Team then met with the community leaders in their assigned kawan to discuss and prepare the logistics of the community consultation workshop which will be held the following day. After the meeting, transect walks were conducted by each group to observe the living conditions and current situation of their assigned community.
The highlight of the community immersion experience of the participants was the community consultation workshop. The community consultation workshop was held on the fourth day of the workshop and was conducted by the YP participants themselves. The main objective of the community consultation workshop is for the communities to come up with strategies that would make their communities disaster-resilient and translate those strategies into community action plans. The YP participants used participatory methods such as focus group discussions and analysis tools such as the “Problem Tree” to get pertinent information from the community participants about DRR related issues. The community consultation workshop was simultaneously conducted by the three YP Teams in their respective kawan. At the end of the three consultation workshops, eight community action plans (2 action plans for Kawan 1 and 3 action plans each for Kawan 2 and 3) were made by the community participants. Distinct action plans such as education on land tenure processes and contacting Meralco were given by Kawan 1 and 3 respectively while common action plans such as forming a DRRM committee and making an early warning device was mentioned by at least two kawan as part of their action plan.
After the community consultation workshop, the YP Teams had a reflection session to assess and evaluate their immersion experience. The following day, each YP Teams were tasked to consolidate the outputs of their community consultation workshop. They also prepared for their plenary presentation and finished their mural painting which depicted their experience of the whole YP workshop.
The last day of the workshop was allotted for the plenary presentation and individual reflection session of the YP participants. Representatives from the government, academe, and the private sector were invited as panel reactors for the plenary presentation. Distinguished members of the panel included Ms. Ana Oliveros, former President of the Social Housing Finance Corporation; Mr. Vincent Eugenio and Dr. Melissa Navarra of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor; Prof. Rizalito Mercado representing UST College of Architecture; Engr/EnP. Rosalyn Veneracion of Concep, Inc; Ms. Lita Asis-Nero, Executive Director of FDA; and Fr. Roland Tuazon, Parish Priest of Santuario de San Vicente de Paul.
The first to present their community consultation workshop output was YP Team Kawan 3. They presented their output in a news reporting style with each members reporting on their assigned output. The community action plans of their group included the formulation of a DRRM plan, coordinating with Meralco to address electrical wiring issues, and removal of illegally parked vehicles. They concluded their presentation with an original composition sang by one of their members Elaiza Taguse who also composed the song.
The next to report was YP Team Kawan 1. They did a standard report of their community consultation workshop outputs but showed a video of their “mannequin challenge” at the beginning to showcase the different stages of the entire YP Workshop. The community action plans of their group included the formulation of a DRRM Committee in Kawan 1 and education of their community on the processes of securing land tenure. The group concluded their report with a summary of their group reflection.
The last to present was YP Team Kawan 2. They did a short skit showcasing the problems encountered by their community and their vision for their community. After the role playing, the group presented the outputs of their community consultation workshop. The community actions plans that the community came up with were using a bell for their early warning system, information dissemination on DRRM, and strengthening their DRRM committee. The group’s presentation ended with a song rendition of Asin’s “Masdan Mo ang Kapaligiran” led by Ms. Dominga Damian.
After lunch, each group presented their mural paintings. The mural paintings showcased the experiences and learnings of the YP participants throughout the entire duration of the workshop. YP Team Kawan 1 showed the process that the participants went through in the entire workshop through a series of scenes while YP Team Kawan 2 highlighted the role of the church in their mural painting. YP Team Kawan 3 showcased their ideal community against the existing one with representatives from different sectors hand in hand in the center of the painting.
An individual reflection session was also done to process the individual experience of each participant. Each was asked to illustrate their experience with a drawing and share it with the rest of the participants. Most of the participants shared that the workshop was a memorable learning experience for them. Some participants especially the students mentioned that the workshop was an eye-opening experience for them because they were able to personally experience the actual situation of urban poor communities. On the other hand, the community representatives, mostly shared that they now have more knowledge on what their ideal community should be.
Ways forward and awarding of certificates
The last part of the workshop was to discuss the next plans of action for the collaborating organizations. TAO-Pilipinas will continue to work with FDA to assist the communities under the parish of Santuario de San Vicente de Paul in the improvement of their communities. The fully sponsored YP Participants have already started their internship last June and have already assisted in some of the projects of TAO-Pilipinas.
After discussing the ways forward, awarding of certificates followed. This was led by Arch. Arlene Lusterio and Arch. Angelus Sales of TAO-Pilipinas, Ms. Lita Asis-Nero of FDA, and Fr. Roland Tuazon of Santuario de San Vicente de Paul. Aside from certificates of participation given to each workshop participant, certificates were also given to recognize the assistance provided by each of the BEC Kawan, FDA, and Santuario de San Vicente de Paul. (TRJ & AMPS)