The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on Monday launched this year’s National Shelter Month (NSM) with the theme “Pambansang Pabahay: Matibay na saligan ng mapayapang pamayanan.”
Recognizing the significance of the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino (4PH) Program in establishing resilient communities and in honing productive members of society, the National Shelter Month was officially opened by DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar with DHSUD and Key Shelter Agencies (KSA) executives, representatives UN Habitat and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), partner developers and real estate associations, and officials of the local government of Quezon City (QC) led by Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Dating back to 1985, the United Nations declared the first Monday of every October as World Habitat Awareness Day.
This would eventually become a month-long observance.
In joining the community of nations, President Ramos declared October 1994 as a one off NSM via Proclamation No. 474, s. 1994. Subsequently, he memorialized its annual celebration every October, through Proclamation No. 662, s. 1995, in recognition of housing as “vital to the overall development of the country and the enhancement of the social, economic and spiritual well-being of our people.”
With President Marcos’s flagship housing program as the highlight of the celebration, the DHSUD, together with its KSAs and partners, lined up numerous activities in Metro Manila and around the country, emphasizing the key role of the 4PH in planning, building and sustaining communities across the country.
Mayor Belmonte, in her keynote message at the opening ceremony, thanked President Marcos, the DHSUD and the KSAs for choosing Quezon City as the site for the first-ever 4PH housing project.
She said addressing the country’s housing needs is made possible by the convergence of efforts of the national government, thru DHSUD, and the LGUs. Similarly, she thanked the Department for its partnership to end homelessness and informal settlements, and vowed to help in any way she could to see the success of the 4PH, noting there are more than 200,000 informal settler families in her city.
Monday’s kick-off also saw the beginning of the month-long activities, including a series of television and radio guestings of DHSUD and KSA officials to discuss the 2023 NSM celebration and what is left in store this year for the human settlements and urban development sector.
Meanwhile, the Department’s KSAs and partner developers showed their support for the NSM by setting up public assistance booths at DHSUD’S Central Office, meant to accommodate both clients and passersby who sought free consultations pertaining to real estate matters.
Also at the forefront of this October’s activities is the first-ever Philippine Urban Forum (PhUF), with the theme “Transforming our cities and building resilient communities” slated on October 5 and 6, to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Other assemblies to expect are webinars between the DHSUD and KSAs, a forum with the International Finance Corp., and DHSUD’s Homeowners Associations and Community Development Bureau organized forum with telecommunications companies.
A Memorandum of Agreement will also be signed between the DHSUD and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to provide skills training and upgrading to address the needs for more skilled workers as well as provide ample jobs to would be 4PH beneficiaries.
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Henry L. Yap is an Architect, fellow in Environmental Planner and Real Estate Management, and one of the Undersecretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.