The COVENANT

UPALL leaders with PNOYTOGETHER TOWARDS CHANGE THEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AQUINO ATTENDED A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION PREPARED FOR HIM BY THE LEADERS OF UP-ALL IN PAYATAS,QUEZON CITY.PHOTO BY JAYSON MIRANDA, FDUP

In November 2009, the Urban Poor Alliance (UP-ALL) presented to Sen. Noynoy Aquino and Sen. Mar Roxas its agenda for improving the plight of the sector and building inclusive cities. Unlike other sectors, UP-ALL’s recommended policy inter-ventions were based on evidence. Two months before the national election, Aquino and Roxas signed a covenant with the urban poor where they promised to base their platforms and programs, should they win, on these agenda. Below is an abridged version of the covenant:

Our country’s most valuable resource is its people. In a modern economy every person must be able to contribute the best of his or her abilities to the development of the country. However, poverty denies many Filipinos this opportunity. Bad governance and corruption subvert development and growth. As candidates for public office, we pledge to build a just society for all Filipinos. We shall rid government of corruption and vigorously combat poverty. We do not offer empty promises or stop-gap measures but well-studied, sustainable solutions and the commitment to implement them. Best of all, we have arrived at these policy commitments in consultation with the people.

1 No eviction without decent relocation.

WE will en illegal forced evictions. We will not allow any publicauthority or private entity to evict families and leave them

homeless in the streets. As the work force of our cities, thepoor, to the extent possible, will be given the opportunity to

stay in the cities. We will strengthen efforts to achieve balanced urban-rural development and establish

sustainable livelihood activities in relocation areas.

2 Support for area upgrading and in-city resettlement.

We will shift the emphasis of our housing program from off-city relocation to area upgrading and

in-city resettlement through programs like the CommunityMortgage Program (CMP) and Presidential land proclama-

tions. We will accelerate CMP, promote its localization, proclaim land in favor of as many poor families as possible,

and order a review of all existing proclamations to accelerate the provision of tenure to their intended beneficiaries.

3 Provide basic services to poor communities.

Over the six years of our term, we will increase the health and education allocation in our national budget to bring them to

par with that of our neighboring countries. We will extend health insurance coverage to all urban poor people,

put an end to shifting in public schools and provide a full set of quality textbooks to our public school children. We will

provide poor communities easier access to water and electricity.

4 Housing budget.

We shall strive to cover the estimated housing need by providing the necessary funds to

implement existing and new social housing programs. We will ensure the full release of the mandated budgetary

allocations in the Comprehensive and Integrated ShelterFinancing Act (CISFA).

5 Jobs.

We will create jobs for the poor by means of large- scale public works programs and support for entrepreneur-

ship and skills development. We will help those in the informal sector to avail of relevant incentives, services and

benefits, such as access to social security and other forms of assistance.

6 Increased cooperation with local governmentunits.

We will work with Local Government Units for the full implementation of the Urban Development and Housing

Act (UDHA). To encourage LGUs to take the lead in addressing housing needs, we will provide them with

incentives like co-financing schemes, technical assistance and other support services. We will institutionalize and

strengthen participatory shelter planning at the local level.

7 Peace.

We will make every effort to begin sustainable and uninterrupted peace negotiations in Mindanao. We will

respond to the needs of people and communities in Mindanao displaced by continuing conflicts.

8 Post-Ondoy Rehabilitation Program.

We recognize that most people living in hazardous areas are forced by circumstances to live in these places because government

has failed to provide viable alternatives. We will explore new approaches that address both the housing and livelihood

needs of Ondoy-affected families. We will review Executive Order 854 in consultation with the affected

communities and look for appropriate solutions for the families living in Manggahan Floodway and Lupang

Arenda.

9 Appointments.

The appointment of reform-minded persons is essential to the attainment of our objective of

instituting reforms and steering the HUDCC and other shelter agencies to become more responsive and effective

agencies in delivering housing services. Cabinet positions and portfolios, including the Undersecretaries and Assistant

Secretaries, would be distributed among the three major islands (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) without sacrificing

competence and trustworthiness criteria. We will appoint a person with a track record and demonstrated capacity in

delivering social housing as HUDCC Chairperson. We will appoint NGO and PO representatives in the board of the

Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and in the council of HUDCC and an NGO representative with observer

status to the board of the National Housing Authority (NHA). We will appoint the NHA General Manager, the

SHFC President and the Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor in consultation with civil

society groups.

10 Participation and stakeholdership.

We will emphasize the participation of all stakeholders in finding solutions to the problems that they face. In fact, the process

that we will go through to provide the details of this plan we have presented will be consultative and transparent.

All these goals that we have agreed with the urban poor will be part of our development agenda and platform to build an

inclusive urban society.

SIGNED:

NOYNOY AQUINO                           MAR ROXAS

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