Vice President Leni Robredo will use housing projects of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) as models in housing programs to be pursued by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) during her watch.
Appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte last week as HUDCC chairman, Robredo recently sat down with INC Executive Minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo and informed him that will would be visiting the church’s eco-farming and resettlement sites in Leyte, Agusan del Sur and Oriental Mindoro to see if these could be replicated in other parts of the country.
“Sabi ko nga gusto kong mabisita yung isa. Baka pwedeng gawing inspirasyon [I said I want to visit one site I can draw inspiration from it],” said Robredo, who discussed her plans to reduce the housing backlog, among others, during a meeting with Manalo on July 12 at the INC central office in Quezon City.
Robredo had said she plans to address her agency’s 1.4 million housing backlog and the construction of additional 5.5 million houses needed in the country.
The INC has numerous housing and livelihood projects in the Philippines.
Its resettlement sites have been put up as part of the religious group’s Lingap sa Mamamayan initiative, the INC’s comprehensive outreach program.
Aside from the resettlement sites in Leyte, Agusan del Sur and Oriental Mindoro, the INC has also put up housing and livelihood projects for indigenous peoples in Camarines Norte and South Cotabato.
Earlier this year, it launched housing, eco-farming and onsite livelihood projects for the B’laan tribe in South Cotabato.
A similar project was put up for Kabihug families in Paracale, Camarines Norte.
This project includes 300 housing units to serve as permanent shelters for Kabihug families as well as livelihood facilities such as a 20-hectare calamansi orchard, an eco-farm and a 300-square-meter fish-drying plant.
According to INC general auditor Glicerio Santos, Jr. the INC’s Lingap sa Mamamayan initiative “is a year-round program of the INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo that has been actively providing material and spiritual help to Iglesia and non-Iglesia members all over the country.”
“We envision an expansion of this initiative through the participation of our brethren from other socio-civic and religious groups so we can have a bigger impact on poverty reduction,” Santos said.
“The housing component of our outreach activities is part and parcel of our holistic approach to our outreach activities, which also include onsite livelihood programs so that our brothers and sisters in need will not only have roofs over their heads, but also the means to put food on their tables,” he added.
Santos said Manalo has directed the INC to step up its regular and continuing outreach programs to needy communities all over the country so that these can dovetail with President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for the whole country to support government efforts to promote the welfare of the people.