NATONIN—Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Committee is developing a housing program for Indigenous Peoples in the north.
During her visit to this town in the Mountain Province on October 13, Robredo said “we have found a way to help in housing needs for the areas without land titles,” she said, referring to the fact that government funds to develop lands require land title ownership documents.
She cited the case of the Emergency Shelter Response for the Yolanda victims when three years passed but the funds could not be used due to the absence of land titles for the proposed sites.
“Such is not anymore true. Tax declarations can now be used,” Robredo said assuring that the change of rules is a result of a conference between government agencies such as Commission on Audit, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Registration Authority, the HUDCC and other concerned agencies.
“We are budgeting for housing to IP communities by adopting municipalities in the Cordillera aside from Kibungan,” she said.
It was not clear if this town will also be given housing program.
During her visit, the Vice President was adopted by the town and given the native name “Farangaw” which means a woman for all seasons, a provider in times of need. After her was named one of the barangays in the municipality–barangay Balangao.
She referred to the visit as her way to gauge the peoples’ pulse on prevailing issues and her advocacies such as the war against poverty and housing shortage.
On the indigenous rights and concerns, the Vice President cited the advocacies of her late husband, the respected Secretary Jesse Robredo, that she now continues. Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives now sit in local legislative councils as a result of the memorandum of the late secretary.
Robredo’s visit here was timed to the celebrations of the Indigenous Peoples Month and the 116th Civil Service celebrations.