Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vows to help more urban poor get titles to their homes

ANOTHER batch of urban poor families was given land titles by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who pledged to secure the same privilege for thousands more families.

In her speech during the awarding ceremonies of Certificate of Land Awards to some 80 beneficiaries in Parola, Binondo, Arroyo vowed to help more than 5,000 urban poor families in Parola, Manila get their land titles.

Arroyo said she will ask Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez to convene the Oversight Committee on Housing which he heads to facilitate the awarding of titles to the urban poor beneficiaries in Parola, both in Binondo and Tondo.

“Magpapa-convene tayo ng Oversight sa Committee on Housing kay Cong. Benitez para maayos natin ang mga titulo ninyo,” she told residents.

Speaker Arroyo went to Parola yesterday to lead the awarding of CELAs to beneficiaries. It was the first time the first batch of CELAs was distributed to residents since 2004.

Speaker Arroyo first went to the house of Lucy Santos in Gate 15, Area D to see the condition of the community. Santos was the resident who first talked to then President Arroyo in 2004 about gaining ownership of their lots.

As a result of her consultations with Santos and the homeowners’ organization in the area, she issued Presidential Proclamation 581 in March 2004 setting aside more than 5 hectares in Parola in Tondo and in Binondo for socialized housing for the informal settlers in the area.

But since she issued the proclamation, the giving of titles was delayed as several government agencies had laid claim over the property.

Speaker Arroyo was told that both the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine National Railways were both claiming ownership of the Tondo side of Parola which has delayed the purchase of the lot areas by the residents.

“Nalaman ko na pinag-aagawan pala ng DENR at PNR kasi kapag nabayaran na ninyo ang inyong lupa sino raw ang tatanggap ng pera? DENR ba o PNR?” she told the residents.
As a result, Speaker Arroyo said she has instructed Manila Reps. Yul Servo and Manuel Lopez to coordinate with Benitez to convene his Oversight Committee on Housing to thresh out with the competing government offices and other attached agencies the issue in Parola.

“Hingin natin sa Chairman ng Housing, si Albee Benitez na tawagin ang GSIS, ang PNR at ang DENR sa Kongreso sa ganon doon na mismo ayusin natin ang pagmamay-ari at doon na mismo na ipaliwanag natin sa GSIS na ang tanging pwede nilang bentahan ng lupa ay yung mga maralitang nakatira doon,” she added.

She said the Oversight Committee hearings will be held despite the start of the campaign period.

Joven Pajora, one of the beneficiaries of the CELA said they are forever grateful to Speaker Arroyo for giving them another chance to acquire their land.

He said after she stepped down, no one paid them attention and it was only when she became Speaker that CELAs have finally been awarded to them.

“Si Speaker Arroyo lang po ang nakinig at ngayon ay nakikinig sa amin dahil kung hindi po sa kanya wala kaming kasiguruhan dito at ngayon naumpisahan na sa wakas ang pagbibigay ng CELA na 15 years na naming hinintay,” he said.

He said more CELAs will awarded in the coming months as they are still waiting for the final documents to be completed for the next batch of awardees.