From March 15 to 21, the 2016 Young Professionals (YP) Workshop on Social Housing was held in Cagayan de Oro City (CdO). This is already the sixth time that TAO-Pilipinas has conducted the training for young professionals and senior students of architecture, engineering and planning. TAO last carried out the YP workshop in 2011. The workshop theme for this year was “Mainstreaming Participatory Design Process in Community Planning and Development.”
Fifty-six (56) participants joined the YP workshop in CdO. They are comprised of engineering students from Xavier University (XU), architecture students from Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST), community representatives from Impala Neighborhood Association and Tierra Villa Verde Homeowners Association, community mobilizers from the local government of CdO, and management and technical staff of Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC). The training on social housing for YPs was divided into two parts; part 1 was the lecture and orientation sessions while part 2 was the community immersion activities.
Two days were allotted for the lecture sessions that were held at the Manresa Training Center in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City. The training began with a keynote lecture from Mr. Roel Ravanera, Executive Director of Xavier Science Foundation. In his lecture entitled “The Challenges to Sustainable Human Settlements Development and the Role of Young Professionals”, Mr. Ravanera talked about pressing issues in sustainable development and social housing and the ways to address these issues. He introduced the Xavier Ecoville project of Xavier University as an example of a housing solution to resettle Sendong-affected families and build a sustainable community.
The next presentations were grouped into four sessions that had specific learning objectives. The sessions were categorized into: (1) social housing overview; (2) participatory community planning and design; (3) building sustainable and disaster-resilient communities; and (4) facilitating the community consultation workshop. Several resource persons gave lectures about various topics, these included:
- The National Housing Situationer presented by Atty. Junefe Payot
- Cagayan De Oro Housing Situationer presented by Mr. Ermin Pimentel
- Batas Pambansa 220: Planning and Design Standards for Social Housing presented by Arch. Angelus P. Sales
- Cost Considerations in Socialized Housing Developments presented by Arch. Angelus P. Sales
- Methods and Tools for Participatory Planning and Design presented by Arch/ EnP. Geraldine R. Matabang
- Planning with Urban Poor Communities: Technical Assistance Case Studies presented by Arch/EnP. Faith Y. Varona
- Sustainable and Disaster-resilient Concepts in Settlements Planning and Design presented by Arch/ EnP. Arlene D. Lusterio
- Technical Professionals in Post-Disaster Rehabilitation Work presented by Arch. Verna P. Sarraga
- Communicating Technical Knowledge to Communities presented by Ms. Ananeza Aban
- Guide to Facilitating a Participatory Community Consultation Process presented by Arch/EnP. Geraldine R. Matabang
Group activities and field visit
Small group activities and team building exercises were incorporated into the first part of the training to establish rapport amongst the workshop participants. They were also grouped into YP teams and went through many of the exercises already as a team, including fulfilling host group duties throughout the program.
On the third day of the workshop, the participants went to visit an actual resettlement site. Prior to the visit, Mr. Robert Flores gave a backgrounder about the Xavier Ecoville housing project. He discussed how it was started by Xavier University and the progress already accomplished by the project. He also shared some of the difficulties in community development they have encountered and how they are dealing with such challenges.
After the presentation, the participants proceeded to explore the Xavier Ecoville project site in Lumbia. They took stops at community facilities, including a livelihood center, and listened to officers of the homeowners’ association share their experiences in living in Xavier Ecoville. Following the exposure visit, a focus group discussion was conducted to process what the participants observed in the Xavier Ecoville community.
Part 2 of the training began with the fielding of YP teams in the two immersion sites. YP teams 1 and 2 were assigned to Impala Neighborhood in Camaman-an while YP teams 3 and 4 were assigned to Tierra Villa Verde community in Mid-Balulang. On the fourth day of the workshop the teams conducted a transect walk and interviewed community leaders about the land and housing situation in the sites. They stayed overnight with host families in Impala and in an unoccupied house in Tierra Villa Verde.
Their main community immersion activity was conducted on the fifth day of the workshop. Each team facilitated a community consultation program with select community members. The objective of the activity was to initiate a participatory community consultation process and have the community members themselves propose action plans to address community shelter needs. The teams facilitated five sessions during the day-long consultations: (1) inputs on sustainable and disaster-resilient communities; (2) establishing the profile of the community; (3) assessment of community shelter needs; (4) assessment of community resources and capacities; and (5) visioning and community action planning.
At the end of the community consultations, four action plans were generated in each community. In Impala, the community action plans focused on addressing the drainage problem by constructing a riprap, coordinating a meeting with the landowner and conducting an orientation about the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) to initiate solutions to land insecurity, and mobilizing additional community savings. In Tierra Villa Verde, the community made action plans to address organizational strengthening, to access water supply with the local water district, to develop a community drainage system, and to address the lack of land security. The YP teams continued to stay another night in the community to prepare for the presentation of the outputs of their community immersion. The sixth day of the workshop was spent by the teams completing their reports and presentation materials.
On the seventh and last day of the workshop, each of the YP teams presented their community immersion outputs before a panel of reactors, The panelists included Engr. Dexter Lo, head of the Xavier University Engineering Resource Center; Ms. Janet Lumayag, SHFC CdO Regional Officer; Ms. Cynthia Rosales, area coordinator of PCUP CdO Office,; and Michael Cagulada, Executive Director of GROUP Foundation, a CMP mobilizer. The panelists critiqued each team’s presentation, shared their insights on the community’s land and housing situation, gave recommendations about appropriate technical assistance that can be extended to the communities, and filled some of the gaps in the community action plans that were presented. After the plenary presentations, each YP team also processed their shared community immersion experience through a mural painting activity. The finished paintings were presented and explained by each team.
The training of the YPs concluded with the workshop assessment activities. These included sharing their individual reflections through a drawing. Each participant made a drawing that represented their “story of change” after undergoing the training. Another assessment activity conducted was the checking of expectations that were set at the start of the workshop. Lastly, each participant was asked to fill out an evaluation form and answer questions on what learning they attained from the training.
The program ended with a discussion on ways forward, wherein all the stakeholders in attendance discussed the next steps to be done after the workshop. SHFC, XU, MUST each shared their institutional plans and commitment towards addressing shelter security and community development needs in Cagayan de Oro. The community associations likewise gave their assurance that they will work on implementing the community action plans that were presented in the workshop. The institutions also discussed some of the mechanisms for linkage with the communities and the appropriate arrangements to extend technical support to them. Certificates of completion were awarded to all participants who completed the 7-day training.
For the full documentation of the workshop proceedings, you can download a copy through this link.