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NHA as the benchmark in Philippine resettlement and low cost affordable housing was what National Housing Authority Assistant General Manager Froilan R. Kampitan wanted the NHA to be as he shared his concerns during the Kick-Off Meeting of the World Bank-NHA Technical Assistance (WB-NHA TA) Project held last October 21, 2014 at the NHA Operations Center.
The WB-NHA TA Project was initiated in November of 2013 as a grant to enhance NHA's capabilities as a key national agency tasked to address the country's critical shelter needs. The TA will comprise of reviews and analyses of NHA's Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), Estate Management (EM) and Organizational Development (OD) and will run until June 2015.
Also reading the General Manager's message during the meeting, AGM Kampitan described the World Bank as a "trusted partner of NHA in pursuing its mandate of providing decent and affordable and sustainable housing".
The partnership started in 1975 with the Tondo Foreshore Development Project that is known throughout the world today as a "best practice" in slum upgrading. After a competitive bidding conducted by the World Bank, consultancy firm Environs Inc. obtained the highest combined score based on technical and financial evaluation and was awarded the contract for the WB-NHA TA. Environs Team Leader Victoria Rialp explained that the team will be using an appreciative inquiry approach in the review process that ensures interviewee ownership of the recommendations. The consulting team will be organized through matrix approach, whereby specialists/ experts will be working together in specific project aspects and activities. Environs will also apply learning by doing wherein output from the project will be shared directly to NHA.
During the Kick-Off meeting, other managers verbalized their priorities that they wished the project would focus on. The effects of politics on subsidies and in the choice of housing packages, addressing project resistance, sustainability of new settlements and the harmonization of NHA targeting with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Conditional Cash Program (CCT) were the concerns for resettlement.
For operations, best practices in the development of low-rise buildings wherein beneficiaries themselves maintain the physical aspects of the project were sought.
The development of sustainable communities where income segregation is matched with housing types and a pre and post relocation database of beneficiaries are established were the matters raised by the Housing and Technology Development Office (HTDO.)
Making livelihood interventions acceptable, incentivising the location of livelihood programs and services, as well as the inclusion of livelihood facilities in projects were the issues in terms of livelihood.
Establishing the roles of the LGUs and homeowner associations in project disengagement, clear-cut cost recovery and subsidy policy and a national policy for calamity- affected families were the expressed factors for estate management.
NHA's identity as a corporation vis-a-vis its mandate of addressing the housing needs of the poor and the underprivileged were the underlying elements for NHA policy.
Finance considerations included the servicing of past loans with WB, the mismatch in "borrowing short and lending long", a clear subsidy policy and the recoverability of doing housing for many types of clients.
The need for young professionals, succession planning and clear policy directions to move forward were identified as vital for organizational development.
The Environs team is led by Team Leader and Social Development Specialist Victoria Rialp, Urban Planner Rod Bernardo, Social Housing Architect Luis Ferrer, Social Housing and Resettlement Specialist Josephine Hottle, Community Development Specialist Rosemary Husin, Organizational Development and Livelihood Specialist, Dr. Eduardo Morato Jr., Estate Management Specialist George Richard Siton, International Resettlement Specialist, Susan Tamondong and Project Manager and Financial Analyst Angelo Bernardo. - Nikko Mercader