News2022-07-27T17:56:18+08:00

Habitat Philippines News and Stories

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Paknaan Housing Project

80 families receive new homes under Habitat Philippines’ Paknaan Housing Project in Mandaue City

(MANDAUE CITY, CEBU) “I grew up homeless at a very young age when my mother passed away. Life has been so difficult for us. We were living along the creek. We never knew when we would be forced to leave,” recalled Queenie Gacang, 27 years old. She added, “I prayed to have our own home, far from this place, to start anew, and to turn around my story completely.”

Queenie is just one of the 80 informal settler families, who used to live along the Mahiga Creek and in other danger zones in Mandaue City, Cebu. For many years, they spent their lives in precarious housing conditions, fearing demolition and environmental hazards. But their lives are about to change through Habitat for Humanity Philippines, its partners, and donors.

Intending to help families move into safer, disaster-resilient homes in sustainable communities, Habitat Philippines has turned over 80 new homes to members of the Nawanao Riverside B Homeowners Association. The partnership project with the local government of Mandaue, the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) Region 7, and eight donors, relocates families to a new community in 6.5 Relocation Site, Zone Ahos, Barangay Paknaan.

“The Paknaan Housing Project is a testimony of how strengthening public-private-people partnerships could result in a concrete, impactful initiative and help vulnerable families rise from the agony of living in poor housing conditions. It took us eight years to complete this project due to challenges in site development. But we did not falter, and our now homeowners never lost their faith. By working together with a shared goal, these families finally have a decent home for the first time in their lives. It’s always a surreal feeling to hand over a key that will open not only the door of their new home but also life-changing opportunities starting today,” remarked Habitat Philippines chief executive officer Mardi Mapa-Suplido.

Joining the handover of new homes last July 12, 2022 was Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford, who visited the Philippines for a week-long set of events and activities in Manila, Negros Occidental, and Cebu. Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes opened the program, recognizing the efforts of the partners, who contributed to the completion of the project.

“We wanted to showcase that we can do a housing project at the heart of the city and this partnership with Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful inspiration. It is my hope that these houses will turn into homes where its residents can live with dignity to improve their quality of life. I hope that a vibrant community will emerge – one that is empowered and a partner to this city’s growth. I would like to thank and congratulate all those who are involved in this noble effort. You have contributed to improving the well-being of these families, as well as to giving them hope for a better tomorrow,” said Cortes.

The Paknaan Housing Project started in 2014 as part of the river rehabilitation program, which resulted from massive flooding in the area in 2011. Through the funding support from SHFC’s Community Mortgage Program, the 6.5-hectare government land in Zone Ahos was devoted to the project, leading to the construction of 80 row house units.

“We are joined here today to witness the joy of our home partners as they receive the keys to their new homes. This success is not without the collaboration of our partners, most especially the local government of Mandaue City and Habitat for Humanity Philippines. Thank you for your heartfelt commitment to provide decent homes for underprivileged families. The Social Housing Finance Corporation remains 100% committed to be your partner in this endeavor,” said Engr. Randolph Librando, Officer-in-Charge/Manager of SHFC Region 7.

Habitat Philippines’ partners and donors helped fill the funding gap to complete the houses. Through its global partnership with Habitat for Humanity, SC Johnson funded 25 houses in their commitment to helping build safe, disaster-resilient homes and improve the lives of people in their communities.

“At SC Johnson, we have always believed that we should have a positive impact in communities around the world. Wherever we operate, we should help make that place better because we are there. We are proud of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. It has enabled us the opportunity to create pathways for greater social mobility for underserved communities where we operate. Access to safe, equitable housing and hygiene facilities are essential needs for every family and we are glad to be able to support in the provision of that,” said Alan VanderMolen, SC Johnson’s Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

A steadfast partner of Habitat Philippines for many years, Wells Fargo has supported the construction of 21 housing units, true to its mission to advocate for diversity, social inclusion, economic empowerment and resiliency, and improved well-being through housing.

“I am proud of our community partners for doing what they have to do to build not just houses, but homes which fill a community with hope, love, and dreams to build a better future. Let us continue to aspire to make Philippine communities safer and stronger,” said Sandeep Mulajkar, Country Head, Wells Fargo Philippines.

Other donors that supported the completion of the 80 houses include the JTI Philippines, Henkel Foundation, Latria Construction Company, Bloomberg, American Wire and Cable Company, Inc., and the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation.

Newly married and blessed with a new home of their own, Queenie and her husband, James, can start building their family and live comfortably and worry-free. “Nothing could express the joy in our hearts when finally, one of our dreams has become a reality. This housing project will help us raise our future children and they will remember this legacy that we built as they pass it on to future generations,” beamed Queenie as she received the key to her new home.

Negros Occidental Impact 2025

Providing disaster-resilient houses to vulnerable informal settler families

Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart.

Matthew Desmond

It was a dream Rowena Bublo, 48, and her husband longed for: a house they can call their own. She couldn’t help but be nostalgic as she recalls how excited her husband was at the prospect of having their own house.

“My husband looked forward to this house, one that is concrete and has no leaking roof. While I’m sad that he didn’t get to live here, I know he is happy that we now have a house where we can sleep comfortably,” Rowena said. Her husband died in a car crash even before they could start with their sweat equity. Sweat equity requires potential unit owners to contribute to building their houses through various forms of labor that range from construction work to administrative work.

Rowena’s family is just among the 322 who benefitted from Habitat for Humanity’s housing project in Silay City, Negros Occidental. Built using Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) Technology, the house has proven to be disaster-resilient as it survived torrential rains and violent winds of Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

CBF Technology, developed by Hilti Foundation and Base Bahay Foundation Inc., is a prefabricated frame system accredited by the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH). It uses load-bearing bamboo with metal connections and mortar cement plaster. This system has been tested for resistance to earthquakes, typhoons, fire, and insect infestation.

CBF is not only disaster-resilient and environmentally friendly but also offers shelter innovation.

The Negros Occidental Impact 2025 Project

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity and the Hilti Foundation forged a partnership to bring the use of disaster-resilient CBF Technology to scale and help address the housing gap in Negros Occidental. Dubbed as the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25), the project aims to build 10,000 housing units in sustainable communities that are clean, green, safe, disaster-resilient, and progressive for the most vulnerable families.

Silay City is the pilot site of NOI25.

“The project is part of the Silay City government’s relocation program that aims to create a community for 534 families within the Bonbon Village Phase 3. The land is part of the property owned by the City of Silay. The Bonbon Village Phase 3 has a total area of 76,731.73 sq, meters, of which portions are allocated for open spaces, community facilities, and marketplace,” Mardi Mapa-Suplido, Habitat for Humanity Philippines chief executive officer explained.

Three more sites are identified as priority locations including San Carlos City with 230 units submitted for Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) accreditation and another 280 units under project development. A 230-unit housing project in La Carlota is also under project development.

The project is timely, if not urgent. In August 2021, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring a housing crisis in the country and urged the executive department to mobilize resources to accelerate housing production and provide adequate housing to underserved families. In House Resolution 1677, Congress asked DHSUD and other concerned agencies “to immediately undertake the inventory of idle government lands and fast track the development and disposition of these properties for socialized housing, in partnership with the private sector.” Negros Occidental District 3 Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said idle or empty government lands must be used to build houses for Filipinos.

The government estimated that the country’s current housing requirements is at 6.7 million units, which could balloon further to 22 million by 2040 if not addressed.

Of the many potential project sites, Habitat for Humanity selected the province of Negros Occidental as the pilot area because of three main reasons: there are about 166,000 informal settler families (ISFs) in the province; it is disaster-prone; and bamboos are predominant in the area.

“The success of this project is anchored on the public-private-people partnerships that ensure the implementation of the four project components: appropriate land and site development, adequate and timely financing, viable construction technology and design, and cohesive communities,” Mapa-Suplido added. Recipients of the housing project play a vital role in the NOI25 project by taking part in every step of building the houses.

NOI25 in San Carlos City

In San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, around 200 volunteers composed of local government leaders, local housing officers, future homeowners, youth, corporate donors, and housing partners gathered last July 11, 2022 to help build homes at the SCMCI Site, Barangay Palampas, where 230 new houses are soon to rise under the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25) Project.

One of the partnership projects under NOI25, the San Carlos Milling Company, Inc (SCMCI) Socialized Housing Project in San Carlos City supports sustainable development and offers a hand-up not a hand-out approach – capacitating identified low-income vulnerable families to build their strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The project is part of the city government’s relocation program to support ISFs living in danger zones, privately owned lands, and areas with government development plans. The project aims to create a community composed of 230 houses within the three-hectare land owned by the city government. It is a relocation program for SCMCI homeowners’ association (HOA) members composed of employees and tenants displaced from the SCMCI land, which was foreclosed and is now owned by Metrobank.

The target recipients of the project are ISFs, mostly senior citizens, who lost their employment in 2000. They were those who were unable to find regular jobs with the same level of income as SCMCI or people who are dependent only on their SSS pension which is at P7,000/month, and those whose age and income level will not qualify them for a home mortgage.

One of the future homeowners in San Carlos is 66-year-old Wilma Barcoma.

“When my husband passed away in 2010 due to cancer of lymphoma, my children and I were at a loss how to survive. We lived with my sister-in-law and took on different jobs to earn a living. Two years ago, I’m fortunate to be one of the homeowners of Habitat’s housing project,” Wilma shared. Despite her old age, Wilma shares in sweat equity – not the hard labor like construction works, but something that people of her age can still do.

“I remove the weeds on the field. I joined the tree-planting activities. I also bring snacks to workers. This is my contribution and it gives me pride that even if I am already a senior citizen, I can still help and fulfill my ‘dagyaw’,” she said beaming with pride as she recalls the work that she does. Dagyaw is the local term for sweat equity.

Wilma’s house is still under construction but she already looks forward to living in a home she can call her own. “I look at those houses with high regards. I dream of living happily with my neighbors. Because we all participate in sweat equity, I already know my future neighbors and I am excited to start a business here,” she enthused.

Each socialized housing unit costs around P530,000. The cost covers direct construction cost, community capacity development, and HOA formation.

“We just don’t build houses. We make sure that our communities are organized and cohesive so we also support them in forming their homeowners’ association and helping build the capacity of the HOA to lead and manage the community towards development and sustainability,” Mapa-Suplido noted.

Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford on his week-long visit to the Philippines emphasized the importance of partnerships in his meetings with key stakeholders: the local government of Negros Occidental, donors, volunteers, and families.

“Crucial support from partners has helped move forward this Negros Occidental Impact 2025 project, which is designed to provide thousands of housing units. Using the Cement Bamboo Frame technology will enable families to build disaster-resilient eco-friendly homes, in a country visited by an average of 20 typhoons and storms in a year,” said Reckford during his visit to San Carlos, where he joined more than 200 volunteers and participants to build houses. “We need to be bold and courageous together to address the housing issues in a country, and to be fully committed to building homes, one community at a time.”

The NOI25 project complements San Carlos City’s housing program for low-income families making it more holistic to efficiently address poor housing conditions. “Decent homes help low-income families build a foundation to get on in life. What is more meaningful aside from the recognition of our efforts is that recipients can become more productive, upgrading their standards of living because of improved houses or dwellings,” added San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo.

The construction of the SCMCI Socialized Housing Project is envisioned to be completed in two years.

Learn more about the NOI25 Project here.

Providing disaster-resilient houses to vulnerable informal settler families

Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart.

Matthew Desmond

It was a dream Rowena Bublo, 48, and her husband longed for: a house they can call their own. She couldn’t help but be nostalgic as she recalls how excited her husband was at the prospect of having their own house.

“My husband looked forward to this house, one that is concrete and has no leaking roof. While I’m sad that he didn’t get to live here, I know he is happy that we now have a house where we can sleep comfortably,” Rowena said. Her husband died in a car crash even before they could start with their sweat equity. Sweat equity requires potential unit owners to contribute to building their houses through various forms of labor that range from construction work to administrative work.

Rowena’s family is just among the 322 who benefitted from Habitat for Humanity’s housing project in Silay City, Negros Occidental. Built using Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) Technology, the house has proven to be disaster-resilient as it survived torrential rains and violent winds of Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

CBF Technology, developed by Hilti Foundation and Base Bahay Foundation Inc., is a prefabricated frame system accredited by the Accreditation of Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH). It uses load-bearing bamboo with metal connections and mortar cement plaster. This system has been tested for resistance to earthquakes, typhoons, fire, and insect infestation.

CBF is not only disaster-resilient and environmentally friendly but also offers shelter innovation.

The Negros Occidental Impact 2025 Project

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity and the Hilti Foundation forged a partnership to bring the use of disaster-resilient CBF Technology to scale and help address the housing gap in Negros Occidental. Dubbed as the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25), the project aims to build 10,000 housing units in sustainable communities that are clean, green, safe, disaster-resilient, and progressive for the most vulnerable families.

Silay City is the pilot site of NOI25.

“The project is part of the Silay City government’s relocation program that aims to create a community for 534 families within the Bonbon Village Phase 3. The land is part of the property owned by the City of Silay. The Bonbon Village Phase 3 has a total area of 76,731.73 sq, meters, of which portions are allocated for open spaces, community facilities, and marketplace,” Mardi Mapa-Suplido, Habitat for Humanity Philippines chief executive officer explained.

Three more sites are identified as priority locations including San Carlos City with 230 units submitted for Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) accreditation and another 280 units under project development. A 230-unit housing project in La Carlota is also under project development.

The project is timely, if not urgent. In August 2021, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring a housing crisis in the country and urged the executive department to mobilize resources to accelerate housing production and provide adequate housing to underserved families. In House Resolution 1677, Congress asked DHSUD and other concerned agencies “to immediately undertake the inventory of idle government lands and fast track the development and disposition of these properties for socialized housing, in partnership with the private sector.” Negros Occidental District 3 Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said idle or empty government lands must be used to build houses for Filipinos.

The government estimated that the country’s current housing requirements is at 6.7 million units, which could balloon further to 22 million by 2040 if not addressed.

Of the many potential project sites, Habitat for Humanity selected the province of Negros Occidental as the pilot area because of three main reasons: there are about 166,000 informal settler families (ISFs) in the province; it is disaster-prone; and bamboos are predominant in the area.

“The success of this project is anchored on the public-private-people partnerships that ensure the implementation of the four project components: appropriate land and site development, adequate and timely financing, viable construction technology and design, and cohesive communities,” Mapa-Suplido added. Recipients of the housing project play a vital role in the NOI25 project by taking part in every step of building the houses.

NOI25 in San Carlos City

In San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, around 200 volunteers composed of local government leaders, local housing officers, future homeowners, youth, corporate donors, and housing partners gathered last July 11, 2022 to help build homes at the SCMCI Site, Barangay Palampas, where 230 new houses are soon to rise under the Negros Occidental Impact 2025 (NOI25) Project.

***

One of the partnership projects under NOI25, the San Carlos Milling Company, Inc (SCMCI) Socialized Housing Project in San Carlos City supports sustainable development and offers a hand-up not a hand-out approach – capacitating identified low-income vulnerable families to build their strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

The project is part of the city government’s relocation program to support ISFs living in danger zones, privately owned lands, and areas with government development plans. The project aims to create a community composed of 230 houses within the three-hectare land owned by the city government. It is a relocation program for SCMCI homeowners’ association (HOA) members composed of employees and tenants displaced from the SCMCI land, which was foreclosed and is now owned by Metrobank.

The target recipients of the project are ISFs, mostly senior citizens, who lost their employment in 2000. They were those who were unable to find regular jobs with the same level of income as SCMCI or people who are dependent only on their SSS pension which is at P7,000/month, and those whose age and income level will not qualify them for a home mortgage.

One of the future homeowners in San Carlos is 66-year-old Wilma Barcoma.

“When my husband passed away in 2010 due to cancer of lymphoma, my children and I were at a loss how to survive. We lived with my sister-in-law and took on different jobs to earn a living. Two years ago, I’m fortunate to be one of the homeowners of Habitat’s housing project,” Wilma shared. Despite her old age, Wilma shares in sweat equity – not the hard labor like construction works, but something that people of her age can still do.

“I remove the weeds on the field. I joined the tree-planting activities. I also bring snacks to workers. This is my contribution and it gives me pride that even if I am already a senior citizen, I can still help and fulfill my ‘dagyaw’,” she said beaming with pride as she recalls the work that she does. Dagyaw is the local term for sweat equity.

Wilma’s house is still under construction but she already looks forward to living in a home she can call her own. “I look at those houses with high regards. I dream of living happily with my neighbors. Because we all participate in sweat equity, I already know my future neighbors and I am excited to start a business here,” she enthused.

Each socialized housing unit costs around P530,000. The cost covers direct construction cost, community capacity development, and HOA formation.

“We just don’t build houses. We make sure that our communities are organized and cohesive so we also support them in forming their homeowners’ association and helping build the capacity of the HOA to lead and manage the community towards development and sustainability,” Mapa-Suplido noted.

Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford on his week-long visit to the Philippines emphasized the importance of partnerships in his meetings with key stakeholders: the local government of Negros Occidental, donors, volunteers, and families.

“Crucial support from partners has helped move forward this Negros Occidental Impact 2025 project, which is designed to provide thousands of housing units. Using the Cement Bamboo Frame technology will enable families to build disaster-resilient eco-friendly homes, in a country visited by an average of 20 typhoons and storms in a year,” said Reckford during his visit to San Carlos, where he joined more than 200 volunteers and participants to build houses. “We need to be bold and courageous together to address the housing issues in a country, and to be fully committed to building homes, one community at a time.”

The NOI25 project complements San Carlos City’s housing program for low-income families making it more holistic to efficiently address poor housing conditions. “Decent homes help low-income families build a foundation to get on in life. What is more meaningful aside from the recognition of our efforts is that recipients can become more productive, upgrading their standards of living because of improved houses or dwellings,” added San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo.

The construction of the SCMCI Socialized Housing Project is envisioned to be completed in two years.

Learn more about the NOI25 Project here.

Bahay ni Juan Campaign Launch

Bayanihan para sa

Habitat for Humanity Philippines, youth leaders urge the public
to help build decent homes for every Juan

With a staggering 6.7 million housing need in the country, Habitat for Humanity Philippines stresses the urgency to help address the housing crisis before it balloons further by encouraging the public to be part of the solution and underlining their contribution to help build decent homes and sustainable communities for every Juan.

Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford joins youth leaders and advocates from top universities in the Philippines and community youth groups in calling everyone to help fill the housing gap during the launch of Habitat Philippines’ “Bahay ni Juan” individual giving program at the Makati Sports Club last July 9, 2022.

Leading the campaign launch was Habitat Philippines CEO Mardi Mapa-Suplido saying, “Habitat Philippines has always believed in the power of every individual to help fulfill our mission of building homes, communities, and hope. Each one of us, even in our small ways, can create ripples of impact that can change the course of a family’s life through shelter. With ‘Bahay ni Juan,’ we aim to be the channel for everyone to help make the dream of low-income Filipino families come true. One home is equivalent to one hope. And for every hope we give a family, we are giving them endless opportunities to build a better life for their children and their children’s children. This will be our legacy – transforming lives together through decent shelter.”

The “Bahay ni Juan” campaign aims to inspire people to help fund Habitat Philippines’ programs for housing, community development, disaster risk reduction and response, hygiene promotion, and volunteer mobilization that all contribute to helping low-income Filipino families access safe, decent, affordable, and disaster-resilient homes. The campaign’s tagline, “A home from you is hope for them,” reiterates how decent shelter can transform the lives of Filipino families by providing them a solid foundation to have better opportunities, breaking the cycle of poverty.

For just Php17 a day, a giver can help provide one concrete hollow block, a sturdy raw material to build the foundation of a house. Collectively, not only can givers help build homes, but also develop and empower communities towards sustainability and progress.

Housing advocate and former Habitat for Humanity Blue Chapter President from the Ateneo de Manila University, Arissa Kitchy Dy, led the youth in expressing their support for the campaign.

“To learn and understand more about the housing issue and its multi-faceted nature. It’s through this that I grew passionate about it, and maybe the same will happen for others. Building homes isn’t just a matter of accumulating volunteer hours nor creating jobs in construction. Once you understand how decent shelter is connected to other critical issues in our country, housing now becomes pivotal to our overall development,” said Dy.

Joining Reckford and Dy in the call for support were young housing advocates, businessmen, and entrepreneurs Jardin Wong, CEO of Mosaic Realty and Development Corporation, and Brian Poe-Llamanzares, CEO of Time Masters Watches.

Having a magnified view of how providing decent housing can help people become more productive and contribute to nation-building, Wong said, “it is integral to harness every bit of effort if we want to achieve maximum efficiency and address the huge housing backlog. There are myriad ways to make a difference. Donating and volunteering to esteemed organizations like Habitat is a structured and worry-free way of doing this. If you have the resources, you can go above and beyond and establish your own fundraising activities. Another way is to support the development of innovative and sustainable building materials that can make building homes more affordable and eco-friendly.”

As a public servant and youth advocate, Poe-Llamanzares aims to bring together key opinion leaders and inspire more people to take part in promoting the advocacy for housing. He said, “Running relief efforts and rebuilding has always been a part of my work as a public servant and a fellow Filipino. They say home is where the heart is. Building a decent home can make a world of difference for a family. It’s the first step in living a decent life. Hopefully, young politicians in congress can prioritize the passage of the disaster risk reduction and management act and push for more funding for quality national housing programs.”

Prior to launching the campaign, Habitat young leaders gathered for a Youth Assembly to share their best practices, learnings, and commitments to achieving sustainable development goals through actively participating in community-building and organizing social impact initiatives.

As one of the Asia-Pacific countries with strong youth engagement, Habitat Philippines has been mobilizing young advocates and volunteers for the past 34 years to be part of its mission of building homes, communities, and hope. The organization has established 18 youth organizations across the country, including seven campus chapters and 11 community youth groups. Some of the most notable campaigns and projects involving the Habitat youth include Habitat Young Leaders Build, Leadership Academy, and the Philippines Youth Congress.

Support the Bahay ni Juan Campaign by donating at habitat.org.ph/bahaynijuan/.

Typhoon Odette Disaster Response

100 Days after Typhoon Odette
Habitat for Humanity Philippines expands relief ops to help rebuild homes

Marking a hundred days after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, millions of families who lost their homes are still without sufficient shelter assistance to help build back their lives.

In response to the urgent shelter needs of hardest-hit communities, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has widened the reach of its disaster relief efforts to support the recovery and rebuilding of damaged houses in Cebu, Southern Leyte, and Negros Occidental. Supporting nine cities and municipalities, the emergency response program will aid at least 1,800 severely affected, low-income, and vulnerable families through house repair, distribution of shelter repair kits, and provision of hygiene and household kits.

“Habitat Philippines’ teams in the Visayas region are closely coordinating with local government units to assess the urgent shelter requirements of disaster-hit communities. It has been three months and many families are still reeling from the impact of the typhoon. Although PHP 1.6-billion worth of assistance has been provided, shelter assistance only accounts for less than 10 percent. The reconstruction of homes and community infrastructures has been sluggish forcing millions of families to live in unsafe shelter conditions. With the loss of their livelihood and the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are unable to build back better and safer. The lack of shelter assistance slows down their recovery,” said Habitat Philippines chief executive officer Mardi Mapa-Suplido.

Typhoon Odette (International Name: Rai), one of the world’s strongest tropical cyclones in 2021 that struck the Philippines last December 16, damaged more than 2 million homes, based on the situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of February 21, 2022. Compared to Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 which damaged over 1.1 million houses, Typhoon Odette destroyed 78 percent more, displacing over 115,000 individuals three months on.

“Days after the typhoon happened, we launched our emergency response fundraising campaign, bringing together corporate partners, grant funding organizations, and individuals to support the needs of the affected families. However, unlike in the Typhoon Yolanda response, the flow of local and international aid for Typhoon Odette is slow and meager,” said Lala Baldelovar, chief development officer of Habitat Philippines. “The impact of the pandemic on the local and global economy, coupled with the increasing intensity and frequency of disasters in the past years, contributed to the slower aid for Typhoon Odette.”

Through partnerships and collaborations, several donors heeded the call for support and have committed PHP 45-million worth of assistance for the families that Habitat Philippines targets to help. With this commitment, Habitat Philippines intends to repair the homes of over 1,000 families in Southern Leyte, Cebu, and Negros Occidental. Shelter repair assistance includes damage assessment, ‘build back safer’ orientation, provision of tools and materials, and labor support.

“Today, many communities have not yet fully recovered from the effects and devastation of Typhoon Odette. Together with Habitat for Humanity, Shang Properties thru Kerry Foundation Phils is committed to take part in this humanitarian cause to help affected Visayan communities rebuild their homes and provide safe shelters for these displaced families,” remarked Wilfred Woo, executive director of Shang Properties Inc, one of the major donors for Habitat Philippines’ Typhoon Odette Disaster Response.

Mayor Hermenegildo Culpa of Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, also expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the organization and its partners for extending aid to the affected families in their municipality. He said in a statement, “The presence and support of Habitat for Humanity Philippines in the municipality is deemed to be a great intervention and aid to the local government unit in giving compassionate assistance to vulnerable affected family beneficiaries in building back their respective shelters better and resilient condition.”

Partnering with local government units and leveraging on the resources and capacity of other community development organizations, Habitat Philippines has distributed hygiene and household kits to 800 families in Southern Leyte and Cebu.

“Through our collaboration with Habitat Philippines, the local government, and the community volunteers, we were able to deliver essential household items to typhoon-affected families as they struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives. The assistance and our presence in the communities also brought a message of hope and solidarity that they are not forgotten and that we are with them in rebuilding their lives,” said Sindhy Obias, executive director of the Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development, Inc., which helped distribute the kits in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte.

“Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity in the Typhoon Odette emergency response has given back joy, value, and dignity to the families, who received the household kits and hygiene kits. Amidst the crisis brought by Typhoon Odette, there are institutions and organizations that are willing to help them rise once again and move forward in their journey,” said Fr. Alden John Baran, program director of Cebu Caritas, Inc., which mobilized the relief operations in Carcar, Cebu.

Following the Pathways to Permanence strategy, Habitat for Humanity Philippines targets to help address the vulnerabilities and long-term recovery of disaster-affected families through permanent houses and resettlement of families living in danger and no-build zones. Habitat Philippines continues to coordinate with LGUs to help develop comprehensive plans for permanent, adequate, and safer settlements for affected families and build sustainable, disaster-resilient communities.

Support Habitat Philippines’ disaster recovery program: habitat.org.ph/donatenow

Dream to Legacy

The year was 2000. Alma Narciso, then 30 years old, had just given birth to her child when a strong storm caused massive flooding in parts of Metro Manila. Alma and her family lived by the riverside in San Miguel, Manila, one of the gravely affected communities.

“It only took seconds. When I came out to check, the water was already chest-deep. Our roof was blown away, and my partner had to chase after it. I was really nervous. I got sick because of that,” recalled Alma.

Whenever there’s a typhoon or heavy rains in their previous place, it would usually take a month or two before the flood would subside. She was constantly worried about the leaking roof and the environment where her children were growing in. But even without a storm, there’s always that fear that they would be forced to leave their place because they were informal settlers.

“I was always anxious because my kids were still young at that time, and they were all studying. My partner and I used to pick up scraps from the dumpsite and took side jobs just to provide for the family. If we’re forced to leave our place, where would we go? Where would they take us? If we needed to pay a monthly rent, what about our food and other daily needs,” said Alma.

The moment that she feared the most came, and they immediately had to leave the place. The local government offered to relocate them to Montalban, Rizal. But they rejected it because it was too far from their source of livelihood. So, when another opportunity knocked on their door to move to a housing project in Pasig City, they didn’t hesitate to take it.

Just like other families, who got the chance to have a Habitat home, Alma and her family did 1,000 hours of sweat equity, clearing the project site, laying bricks, and ultimately building their home. To them, it was a fulfilling experience to work alongside other families.

“It was challenging, but we were happy. A lot of families worked together. I’m glad that we now live in a house that we helped build,” said Alma, adding, “I’m truly grateful and overjoyed because this it the fruit of our hard work. We don’t have to fear the storm anymore.”

Alma and her family moved into Habitat Pasig 2 community in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City, in 2012. The house was named after her mother, who had bone cancer and passed away shortly after they transferred. The move-in was tough but, at the same time, a blessing. Alma felt that the house was her mother’s parting gift to the family – a legacy that she left behind for generations to come.

“It was her lifelong dream to have her own home. I’m glad that it came true before she passed away. My father also died recently due to COVID-19. It was too painful for us. That reminds me that this house was theirs, and now, we’re taking care of it, and we’ll pass it on to our children and grandchildren,” said Alma.

Alma and her family are now peacefully living in their own safe and decent home, in a community that they helped develop. With her kids starting to work and provide for the family, they can comfortably build the life they want without fearing eviction. Best of all, they can finally have a good night’s sleep even during a storm.</p

“In the past, we would fear that we might end up floating in the water whenever there’s a storm. Here, every time it would rain, we can sleep soundly and worry-free at night,” said Alma.

Philippines Housing Forum 2021

Building forward better for inclusive housing
Habitat Philippines to dig into housing issues, policies, solutions in virtual ‘Philippines Housing Forum’

Positioning housing at the center of the national agenda, leading shelter advocate Habitat for Humanity Philippines will stage the Philippines Housing Forum. This virtual conference will deep dive into the country’s multifaceted housing issues and tackle innovative, sustainable, inclusive solutions to address them.

Happening from November 10 to 11, 2021, the event will bring together over 70 speakers from housing practitioners, subject-matter experts, policymakers, and stakeholders in thought-provoking plenary discussions and breakout sessions. It expects 500 participants from the housing sector, national and local government units, business and financing industry, and people’s organizations.

“Housing is a crucial issue on a global scale. In the Philippines, the lack of safe, adequate housing has been a glaring facet of low-income Filipino families’ reality for generations. The Philippines Housing Forum will serve as a platform for housing stakeholders to convene, talk about the most pressing issues related to housing, and come up with concrete solutions to resolve the issues,” said Habitat Philippines chief operating officer Lili Fuentes.

Carrying the theme “Building forward better for inclusive housing,” the Philippines Housing Forum will highlight four tracks, promoting a holistic, comprehensive approach to addressing the housing problem. Supported by Base Bahay Foundation, Inc., the first track will focus on building resilient cities and communities. Plenary Speakers from various non-profit organizations will talk about well-integrated programs in helping cities and communities overcome the impact of disasters and achieve holistic progress.

“Affordable, decent housing supports the socio-economic growth of low-income families. It is their most expensive family asset. But in a country like the Philippines that is five times more prone to disasters, the housing solution should also address disaster and climate resiliency, said Pablo Jorillo, general manager of Base Bahay Foundation.

Base Bahay takes on the challenge of developing and innovating housing construction technologies that are green, sustainable, and resilient for low-income groups and the housing market to access.

Sponsored by Holcim Philippines, Track 2 will explore innovative and sustainable solutions in building adequate homes. Experts from the housing and construction sector, real estate industry, and the academe will discuss technologies and groundbreaking approaches for eco-friendly, climate-resilient, yet affordable housing.

“Helping address the affordable housing challenge in the country is one of our key priority areas at Holcim Philippines. The Housing Forum allows us to demonstrate that our company is an ally in providing decent and affordable homes to every Filipino. We are confident that our commitment to sustainability and strength in innovation will enable us to provide building solutions that can make a positive difference in this area,” said Holcim Philippines chief sustainability officer Zoe Sibala.

Financing and investment in affordable housing will be emphasized in track 3. Business and finance institutions will discuss housing finance options and investment opportunities to make housing more inclusive and accessible to low-income families.

In track 4, policymakers, local governments, and industry experts will sit down for a discourse on facilitating housing production through policies and partnerships. This track will underline policy reforms and recommendations, government procedures and systems on land administration and management, and available incentives for the private sector to scale up housing production.

Each track will also feature breakout sessions to further elaborate the topics for discussion.

“We have invited speakers from notable organizations and top-tier institutions to contribute their expertise, insights, and best practices. But, more importantly, we involve people from the community to empower them to raise their voices and let their needs be heard. We call the attention of diverse sectors so we can work together and act with urgency and conviction. We believe that it is only through in-depth understanding, collaboration, commitment, and sustainable actions that we can address this crisis and help uplift the lives of Filipino families through shelter,” remarked Fuentes.

As part of the Forum, the second Youth Congress will be held on November 6, with a youth action on November 11, 2021. With the theme “Reshaping inclusive growth through housing,” the Congress underscores the role of the youth in advocating for decent housing. The virtual event will be participated by 300 young leaders and volunteers nationwide.

Supported by Pag-IBIG Fund, Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, and Fairbuilding Network, the Philippines Housing Forum is a lead-in event of the eighth regional Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, organized by Habitat for Humanity Asia-Pacific. It will be held on December 7-9, 2021, via Zoom. Be part of the discussions. Sign up to get exclusive access to the Philippines Housing Forum: habitat.org.ph/phhousingforum

Habitat Challenge Solution Winner

UP group wins Habitat for Humanity Challenge for an innovative solution on retrofitting foundations of Philippine low-income homes

A team of Philippine instructors and civil engineers from the academic community was announced as the winner of the ‘Habitat for Humanity Challenge: Increasing resilience to Earthquakes and Typhoons for Homes with No Foundations’ in the Philippines.

The University of the Philippines-Diliman’s Construction Engineering and Management Group represented by Dean Ashton Plamenco, Dr. Diocel Harold Aquino, Dr. Fernando Germar, and Ammiel Barros will be awarded a total of $25,000 for their winning solution of the challenge during the virtual event that culminated the global challenge that was launched in October 2020.

The challenge, led by Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and Habitat for Humanity Philippines together with SeaFreight Labs and InnoCentive, prompted more than 80 submissions from the InnoCentive platform worldwide to provide innovative solutions on retrofitting houses with no or weak foundations to increase their resilience against earthquakes and typhoons.

In the Philippines, the challenge is also largely supported by Holcim Philippines, Hilti Foundation, and BASE Bahay Foundation.

The winning group’s solution, called the Column Footing Grade Beam Monolith, features isolated reinforced concrete footings, which are placed on the four corners, while all sides of the structure are connected by a plinth beam. The method claims to withstand the required gravity and special loads from earthquakes and strong wind and can be applied for future incremental builds, such as building a second story, from the existing structure.

“Low-income families across the world are underserved by formal housing markets, they tend to build their homes incrementally, often with limited access to sound construction advice and quality, eco-friendly materials. Because of this, Habitat for Humanity is always looking for innovative ways to facilitate affordable upgrades of existing structures,” Scott Merrill, International Program Senior Director of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, said during the virtual event.

“We hope that this is the first of many more innovations that we and others in the business community can help deliver to Habitat. These innovations should help Habitat continue their work in providing more low-income communities with sustainable and affordable solutions to enable building stronger homes,” SeaFreight Labs Founder Harry Sangree added.

Also joining the virtual event were Habitat for Humanity International Vice President for Asia-Pacific Luis Noda; InnoCentive Chief Innovation Officer Jon Fredrickson; Hilti Foundation Board Chairman Marco Meyrat; Holcim Philippines Chief Sustainability Officer Zoe Sibala; BASE Bahay Foundation General Manager Pablo Jorillo Jr., Ph.D.; Habitat for Humanity Philippines Chief Operating Officer Lili Fuentes; and Terwilliger Center Philippine Country Lead Jessan Catre.

Over 200 participants including families from different communities witnessed the virtual announcement of the winner.

Retrofitting foundations for homes in the Philippines
The winning solution was chosen from four finalists whose solutions were evaluated by a panel from SeaFreight Labs, BASE Bahay Foundation, Habitat for Humanity.

The field test involved a “lateral load test,” which simulated the lateral forces of an earthquake and typhoon winds to check how each solution will respond. The solutions were judged on its resilience against typhoons and earthquakes; availability of materials needed; ease of installation among masons and homeowners; and affordability among low-income households.

The Column Footing Grade Beam Monolith earned top scores in the major technical categories of the evaluation, which measures structural resistance to simulated forces typical for typhoons and earthquakes, and exceeded the minimum standards found in the Philippine Structural Code in terms of resiliency.

Additionally, the solution also received top scores in the community acceptability survey conducted with households, artisans, hardware store owners, and the local government, which is an important criterion throughout the selection process.

Other finalists include the Foundation-Fit System by Charles Bunch, Kabir’s Building Stabilization Method by Engr. Humayun Kabir, and Perimeter Concrete Reinforcement Retrofit for Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) Structures by Leonard Duffy. Of the four solutions, Kabir’s Building Stabilization Method did not undergo a field test after further verification on field as the solution failed to comply with the technical and costing requirements indicated by the challenge.

The winner
The Construction Engineering and Management Group is one of the six academic research groups of the Institute of Civil Engineering at the University of Philippines-Diliman. It focuses on research on sustainable housing, disaster-resilient construction, durable infrastructure, and construction method and management. The Institute of Civil Engineering, of which the winning group is a part of, was established in October 2008 to address the need for a center of excellence in civil engineering and its specialized fields, with combined capabilities in instruction, research, and extension service. It is the first and only Institute of Civil Engineering in the Philippines.

Engr. Dean Ashton Plamenco is an instructor at the University of the Philippines Diliman and has authored several research studies on construction engineering, concrete technologies, and construction project management. He finished his bachelor’s degree of Civil Engineering and master’s degree in Industrial Engineering in the same school.

Dr. Fernando Germar is a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman and heads the Construction Engineering and Management Group of the Institute of Civil Engineering. His research materials also include earthquake engineering and seismic design and retrofit of structures. He was also the adviser of the winning team in Bechtel’s Building the Next Century Competition with their research project “Negros-Cebu Bridge.”

Joining Plamenco and Dr. Germar are Dr. Diocel Harold Aquino, assistant professor, Young Scientist Fellow, and recipient of the New Zealand government’s Engineering Research and Development for Technology scholarship; and Engr. Ammiel Barros, a faculty member of the university’s Institute of Civil Engineering.

 The Philippines Challenge
In the Philippines, more than 1 million houses are built without foundations, which poses major concern as the country sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is subject to major earthquakes and typhoons. Unfortunately, low-income families are not able to afford retrofitting foundations of their existing houses because of the additional expenditure.

Faced with these realities, the Habitat for Humanity Challenge was launched in the Philippines in October 2020 to call for cost-effective ways to retrofit houses with a focus on strengthening structures. The innovative solution can help Filipinos have a housing structure that can withstand a 6.5 Richter scale earthquake and a 200-kph typhoon.

Aside from the Philippines, three additional challenges were launched in Kenya, Mexico, and India through InnoCentive’s crowdsourcing platform, which enabled Habitat for Humanity to reach out to solvers who had an extensive track record in solving these challenges and improve the lives and safety of countless people around the globe.

In the Philippines, Habitat for Humanity plans to continue working with the winning team to scale up the solution and make the technology easily accessible to low-income communities. Part of the plans included ways to teach the technology to communities so they could adopt it while repairing their homes.

“(I am firmly convinced that) the solutions presented at today’s event will excite and inspire actors in the Philippine housing sector. We have the collective responsibility to reduce disaster risks and protect vulnerable communities in the Philippines and all over the world. Together, we can contribute to a safer, more sustainable world for everyone,” Luis Noda, Asia-Pacific Vice President, Habitat for Humanity International shared.

Cement Partnership with Holcim

Habitat Philippines, Holcim Philippines cement partnership for socialized housing projects

(MANILA, August 26, 2021) Advocating for decent, affordable, and sustainable housing for Filipino families, top building solution company Holcim Philippines, Inc. forged a commitment to support Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ socialized housing projects.

In a virtual agreement signing, Holcim Philippines committed to providing 34,400 bags of general-purpose cement Holcim Excel to construct homes and community facilities under the Bignay Maunlad Socialized Housing Project in Valenzuela City and the San Carlos Housing Project in Negros Occidental. These housing projects will benefit over 500 low-income families.

Present at the MOA signing were Holcim Philippines Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Zoe Sibala, Vice President and Head of Communications Cara Ramirez, and Habitat Philippines Chief Operating Officer Lili Fuentes.

“Our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live aligns with Holcim Philippines’ goal to build greener, smarter, and sustainable communities. This partnership is a testament to how working together for the same purpose can intensify our efforts and multiply our impact. We are grateful to partner with Holcim Philippines in improving the lives of Filipino families through housing,” said Fuentes.

Holcim Philippines has been a steadfast partner of Habitat Philippines in building and empowering communities. In 2017, Holcim Philippines donated 142 tons of cement to help construct 47 houses for the Matigsalug-Manobo Tribe at the Marilog District, Davao City. They also donated over PHP100,000 to distribute hygiene and sanitation kits to families affected by Typhoon Rolly in the Bicol Region.

Championing decent housing for all, Holcim Philippines participated in the 2017 and 2019 Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Manila, a biennial conference spearheaded by Habitat Philippines that tackles housing issues and solutions. This year, Holcim Philippines has committed to becoming one of Habitat Philippines’ significant partners in staging the first virtual Philippines Housing Forum in November.

“We are excited to continue supporting Habitat Philippines in constructing decent and resilient homes for Filipinos. Putting up affordable homes is a key focus area in our commitment help build progress in the country. This partnership will help us better understand how we can make a bigger impact in constructing these homes through our expertise on innovative and sustainable building materials,” said Sibala.

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About Holcim Philippines, Inc.

Holcim Philippines, Inc. (Philippine Stock Exchange: HLCM) is one of the leading building solution companies in the country. The Company has a deep portfolio of innovative solutions fostered by a full range of products from structuring to finishing applications that can help local builders execute with high performance and efficiency, a wide range of projects from massive infrastructure to simple home repairs.

Holcim Philippines is a member of the Holcim Group, the world leader in the building materials industry present in 70 countries with over 70,000 employees.

Holcim exists to build progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructures and improving living standards around the communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim, and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people passionate about building progress for people and the planet across its 70 markets and 4 business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates, and Solutions & Products.

Habitat for Humanity Challenge

Habitat for Humanity tests innovative, disaster-resilient solutions for low-income households

Leading shelter advocate Habitat for Humanity, together with five leading institutions, tested groundbreaking solutions for a competition that aims to strengthen houses with inadequate or no foundations to withstand the threats of disasters.

In partnership with InnoCentive, SeaFreight Labs, Holcim Philippines, Inc., Hilti Foundation, and BASE Bahay Foundation, this competition is dubbed as the Habitat for Humanity Challenge: Increasing Resilience to Earthquakes and Typhoons for Homes with No Foundations. After a thorough selection and evaluation process, the top solutions were tested in Barangay Bignay, Valenzuela City, one of Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ project sites, where over 300 homes will be constructed for low-income families.

Lack of adequate foundations

Ensuring that a house has a safe and sturdy foundation can help the whole structure endure life-threatening disasters. However, in the Philippines, where frequent seismic activities and around 20 tropical cyclones happen every year, over 1.6 million houses lack strong, adequate, and climate-resilient foundations, making the structures more vulnerable to destruction and putting lives at risk.

Many of these houses are owned by low-income families, who perceive that retrofitting their homes using traditional methods is either too expensive or unnecessary. Habitat for Humanity seeks to address this issue with the support of its partners, thus the birth of the challenge, which called for innovative, affordable methods that can help improve the resistance of these houses to typhoon-force winds and high-magnitude earthquakes.

Finding the right solutions

Habitat for Humanity urged solvers worldwide to submit their proposals. Out of 80 entries, four solutions have advanced to the actual field testing. Housing experts will judge them based on the following criteria: resilience against typhoons and earthquakes, availability of materials needed, ease of installation among masons and homeowners, and affordability among low-income households.

The field testing involved a “lateral load test,” where the lateral forces of an earthquake and typhoon winds were simulated and applied. Using a high-capacity hydraulic jack and movement sensors, this simulation process aims to get the maximum load a structure with an applied solution can endure, how long it will take to crack, and any foundation structural failure it may exhibit.

A community acceptability survey was also conducted among homeowners, whose sentiments play a crucial role in choosing the winner.

Improving low-income housing through innovation

The top solutions presented interesting, cost-effective ways to reinforce homes.

The Foundation-Fit System aims to provide a rigid, stable base to existing Concrete Hollow Blocks (CHB) homes without the need for digging or using common concrete poured galvanized iron C-purlins. This includes lintels over doors and windows, a wall cohesion improvement scheme, and a low-maintenance anchoring system.

Another proposed solution called the Column Footing Beam Monolith claims to withstand the required gravity and special loads using isolated reinforced concrete footings with a plinth beam connecting all sides of the structure.

The Pile-assisted Kabir’s Building Stabilization Method presents an innovative concept of building and strengthening homes by combining special precast miniature piles with the in-situ concrete column that will be anchored to the existing walls of the houses.

Designed to be a simple, inexpensive, and readily assembled retrofit system, the proposed Perimeter Concrete Reinforcement Retrofit for CHB Structures claims that it can be constructed with minimally skilled labor and can be applied to a wide variety of site conditions by providing a continuous reinforcing band around the base of the wall.

The winner will win 25,000 USD.

The Habitat for Humanity Challenge is a global initiative led by the organization through the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. Aside from the Philippines, other crowdsourcing challenges that aim to help improve the quality of homes and communities around the world were also launched in Kenya, Mexico, and India, in partnership with SeaFreight Labs and InnoCentive.

Check out more photos of the field test here. For more updates about the Habitat for Humanity Challenge in the Philippines, follow @HabitatPhilippines on Facebook and @habitatphils on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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About Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expanding innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The ultimate goal of the Terwilliger Center’s market systems program is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit habitat.org/tcis.

About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific, and technical challenges. Their global network of millions of problem solvers, proven challenge methodology, and cloud-based innovation management platform combine to help their clients transform their economics of innovation through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. To learn more, visit https://www.innocentive.com/

About SeaFreight Labs

SeaFreight Labs is an open-innovation consultancy offering turn-key crowd-solving services to the seafreight, maritime and logistics industries. We design and execute global challenges to cost-effectively deliver breakthrough innovation for intractable problems. Visit www.seafreightlabs.com.

About Holcim Philippines, Inc.

Holcim Philippines, Inc. (Philippine Stock Exchange: HLCM) is one of the leading building solution companies in the country. The Company has a deep portfolio of innovative solutions fostered by a full range of products from structuring to finishing applications that can help local builders execute with high performance and efficiency, a wide range of projects from massive infrastructure to simple home repairs.

Holcim Philippines is a member of the Holcim Group, the world leader in the building materials industry present in 70 countries with over 70,000 employees.

Holcim exists to build progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructures and improving living standards around the communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim, and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people passionate about building progress for people and the planet across its 70 markets and 4 business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates, and Solutions & Products.

About Hilti Foundation

The Hilti Foundation is a joint venture of the Hilti Family and the Hilti Group. With its focus area “Affordable Housing & Technology”, it promotes pioneering housing solutions helping families in need improve their housing situation and start into a better, self-determinant life. To achieve its goals, the foundation engages in long-term relationships with trusted partners testing and driving innovative models and ambitious projects for sustainable impact at scale. Besides Affordable Housing & Technology, the Hilti Foundation focuses on “Music for Social Change” and Economic Empowerment to empower individuals and communities to shape their own future. For more information please visit www.hiltifoundation.org.

About BASE Bahay Foundation, Inc.

Base Bahay Foundation is a foundation that provides alternative building technologies to enable a network of partners to build quality socialized homes.  Homes that are Comfortable, Affordable, Disaster Resilient, Ecologically Friendly, and with Social Impact. BASE develops technologies using locally grown and renewable materials to create housing envelops and designs suited to the needs of local communities. To learn more, visit http://www.base-builds.com/

Enriching lives with Wells Fargo

A CELEBRATION OF PARTNERSHIP

Habitat Philippines, Wells Fargo boost ties to improve lives through housing, hygiene promotion­

Building social impact together, leading housing advocate Habitat for Humanity Philippines and global financial services company Wells Fargo strengthen their partnership by providing decent homes to informal settler families (ISFs) and further supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.

In celebration of Wells Fargo’s 10th anniversary in the Philippines, the company donated 100,000 USD or over Php5-million to Habitat for Humanity Philippines through a virtual check handover last August 6, 2021. This will co-fund the construction of houses under the Paknaan Housing Project in Mandaue City, Cebu, which aims to relocate 80 ISFs living in Mahiga Creek to a decent, safer home. The donation will also support the distribution of hygiene and sanitation kits to over 900 families, helping them fight COVID-19 through proper hygiene.

“We are proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity as, through the years, they have made it possible for us to reach out to affected communities and help them gain access to basic necessities such as a safe home and clean facilities,” said Sandeep Mulajkar, Country Head for the Philippines, Wells Fargo. “We are committed to supporting Habitat’s efforts in helping build the foundation for wellness, dignity, and economic opportunity in the communities we serve.”

The Habitat Philippines-Wells Fargo partnership started in 2014 when the latter supported the Rebuild Philippines Program, a rehabilitation and housing program for families who lost their homes to Typhoon Haiyan. Wells Fargo helped build eight houses in Bantayan Island, Cebu, and supported the homeowners through different initiatives.

Last year, Wells Fargo aided Habitat Philippines’ COVID-19 Relief Efforts by distributing hygiene and sanitation kits to over 900 families in Calauan, Laguna and Pasig City. During the Christmas season, they also shared the joy of the holidays and gave the gift of hope by donating 1,000 food baskets in nine Habitat communities across Metro Manila.

Even in the new normal, Wells Fargo continues to go the extra mile, helping families achieve financial stability and raising social awareness amidst the pandemic. Through employee volunteer engagements, they facilitated various webinars on health and hygiene and violence against women and children, besides organizing financial literacy training sessions under Habitat Philippines’ Zoombahayan virtual training program.

“The core of Habitat Philippines’ mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Long-standing partnerships like what we have with Wells Fargo help us fulfill our mission and, more importantly, enrich the lives of Filipino families in the process. We are truly grateful to Wells Fargo for their continuous commitment to building their legacy with us and for their generous support over the years. We look forward to transforming the lives of more Filipino families through this partnership,” remarked Habitat for Humanity Philippines COO Lili Fuentes.

Habitat Philippines and Wells Fargo are set to conduct more social impact activities and mobilize employee volunteer engagements this year to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through housing, community development, and people empowerment.

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About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo.

About Wells Fargo International Solutions, LLC – Philippines

Wells Fargo International Solutions, LLC – Philippines is a critical component of Wells Fargo’s (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.) strategy to leverage distinct advantages in doing business in a global environment. Wells Fargo International Solutions, LLC – Philippines primarily supports the operations, knowledge services, and corporate support teams of Wells Fargo. It facilitates international operations, knowledge support, and middle and back-end business process solutions for a wide spectrum of Wells Fargo’s needs.

50 homes for Haiyan survivors

Habitat Philippines, Lions Clubs International to build 50 homes for Haiyan survivors

(PASTRANA, Leyte) More than seven years after the grueling impact of Typhoon Haiyan in Leyte, 50 more homes for survivor families are soon to rise in Barangay District IV, Pastrana through the partnership of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Lions Clubs International, and the municipal government.

Present in the Groundbreaking Ceremony last April 23, 2021 were Pastrana Mayor Maritess Cayaco-Marcos, Habitat Philippines Chief Development Officer Lala Baldelovar, Lions Clubs MD 301-B2 District Governor Lion Jude Abenoja, and representatives from the local government and the community to mark the start of construction. This housing project aims to fulfill the commitment of Lions Clubs International, through the Lions Clubs International Foundation, to build 200 disaster-resilient, permanent homes in Leyte to relocate the typhoon-affected families living in transitional shelters for years.

Since the Habitat-Lions partnership started in 2014 under Habitat’s Rebuild Philippines Program, 150 families have already moved into a much safer and decent home and have developed thriving communities with the support of the local government. The first 100 families were relocated in the Cali Site, Tacloban City in 2015 and 2019, while 50 houses were turned over to beneficiaries in Pastrana in September 2020. Habitat Philippines and Lions Clubs International target to complete the last tranche of the reconstruction program in the next 14 to 16 months.

Check out more photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony here.

Security amidst Crisis

When Rona Mae Gallego lost her job as an overseas Filipino worker due to an illness, she and her partner, Julius, went through such an ordeal to sustain the medicines and therapy of their now 11-year-old daughter, who has Rett Syndrome.

It didn’t help that they constantly had to move from one place to another, relying on the mercy of their parents and siblings just to have a house to stay in.

“It was such a difficult situation. My partner and I constantly faced a lot of problems, which made him resort to drinking. Most of his income would go to his drinking and there wouldn’t be enough left for us,” recalled Rona.

To help provide for the needs of their daughter, Rona had to seek help from loan sharks. But their increasing debts became a financial burden. Despite too many curveballs thrown their way, Rona never lost hope but instead, strengthened her faith that someday, their life would take a turn for the better. And finally, it did when they got selected as a Habitat homepartner.

Rona tearfully remembered, “Last December 2019 was our first Christmas in this new house that I can call my own. I can’t forget the happiness of my daughter. She was all smile when we moved into the house and she slept comfortably that night. Having a decent home is so important when you have a kid. You’re able to plan your life better because your basic housing need is addressed.”

Living in the Katuwang Community for over a year now has made a huge difference in their lives. Rona has found better ways to earn and save up through a small buy-and-sell business that also helps provide livelihood to some of their neighbors. With his drinking lessened, Julius has a renewed sense of responsibility and starts making plans for their future. They’ve also learned to avail of the services of microfinance institutions, which help boost their livelihood and increase their savings. More importantly, their daughter, Em-em, is happier and more comfortable.

Despite the difficulties during the pandemic, Rona keeps her faith that everything will be just fine. They will keep fighting amid challenges. No more moving, no more unbearable debts. With more stable finances, a decent home of their own, and a more hopeful future, Rona’s optimistic that they can overcome any crisis, even the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If this pandemic happened before, it would have been difficult for our family because we didn’t have a permanent home. That’s why I’m grateful to have our own home now. We feel safer, more comfortable, and more secure,” said Rona with a fulfilled smile.

Help more Filipino families like Rona’s build strength, stability, and self-reliance through decent shelter. Support Habitat’s programs today: habitat.org.ph/donatenow.