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PBBM’s ‘pabahay’ program safe haven for indigenous people in Cotabato

The Build Better and More (BBM) Housing program under the national government’s Bagong Pilipinas program has benefited the indigenous people (IP) in Barangay Tamped in Kabacan, Cotabato Province, providing hope and safe abodes to 100 households belonging to the Erumanen ne Menuvu community.

Erumanens are among the major Manobo groups who also inhabit the upland municipalities of Alamada, Aleosan, Libungan, Banisilan, and Carmen, all in Cotabato Province.

Dubbed “Tamped IP Housing Village Project,” the “pabahay” initiative is implemented by the National Housing Authority (NHA) under its Housing Assistance Program for Indigenous Peoples as part of the flagship program of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration, which aims to provide quality and safe homes to Filipino families, especially in the countryside.

New House. Reynold Saliling’s family is one of the beneficiaries of the Build Better and More (BBM) housing project of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., implemented by the National Housing Authority. Saliling said that he is full of gratitude to the government that his family has been provided with a much safer and better home. (Photo: PIA Region 12)

“Ako po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa local government unit (LGU)-Kabacan at NHA sa binigay na bahay. Kung kami lang po, hindi naming ito maipatatayo. Sementado na ang bahay naming, libre pa [I am very grateful to LGU-Kabacan and NHA for the house. If it were just us, we couldn't have built it. Our house is paved and given to us for free],” said the father of two, Reynold Saliling, one of the beneficiaries of the housing project.

The IP Housing Project, which was turned over to the beneficiaries in December last year, was materialized in partnership with the LGU-Kabacan, which took charge of the preparation of the project site, provision of electric and water sources, and development of proper drainage and road circulation as their counterpart to the project.

Saliling also recalled that before the turnover, they used to stay in a house made of light materials that could provide fairly considerable comfort but did not usually last for long.

“Noon, ang bahay namin kahoy lang at saka atip lang na cogon ang ginagamit namin [Back then, our house was only made of wood and we only used cogon for the roof],” he went on, describing the structure of their house.

Saliling also shared that he and his family members did not feel secure in their previous house, considering that as the years went by, it began to gradually fall apart.

Though he pointed out how they tried their best to maintain their house by having it repaired every three years, the damage resulting from heavy rains and other environmental factors added to its further deterioration to the point that it can no longer be mended.

Having the new house has boosted the community’s pride and morale, Saliling noted, saying that with their meager income as farmers, they would accept all the help that the government provides.

Old House vs New House. Allan Tindagan, an IP leader of Barangay Tamped and one of the beneficiaries of the BBM's housing project, recalled that, due to poverty, their family could not afford to build a decent house. With the government’s housing project, they are now enjoying their concrete house that could weather nature’s challenges. (Photo: PIA Region 12)

IP leader of Barangay Tamped, Allan Tindagan, who is also one of the beneficiaries of the pabahay project, considered the housing project a blessing to him and his fellow IPs.

“Maraming salamat sa NHA at LGU-Kabacan at nabigyan kami ng bagong bahay [Thank you so much to NHA and LGU-Kabacan for the new house we received],” he said, as he expressed his gratitude and support to the government, lauding them for giving his community a decent house.

Meanwhile, Kamanto Lantapan, Kabacan Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Daniel Saliling’s grandfather, shouldered the responsibility to donate 2 ha of land for the project site.

Based on the data from the NHA-12, the housing project had a total cost of P20,000,000, with the primary beneficiaries being those residing in disaster-prone and conflict-affected areas, including those sectors classified below the poverty line or the poorest of the poor.

NHA-12 Regional Manager Engr. Zenaida Cabiles urged recipients of the housing project to take good care of the houses given to them by the government. Cabiles emphasized that the government is steadfast in addressing the housing concerns of Filipinos while acknowledging the partnership and support of stakeholders in the realization of the ‘pabahay’ program of President Marcos administration.(Photo courtesy of LGU-Kabacan)

“Ang Tamped IP Housing Village Project na may [with] 100 housing units na pinagkaloob sa mga kapatid nating mga katutubo ay parte ng direktiba ng [provided to our brother IPs is part of the directive of] NHA General Manager Joeben Tai to Build Better and More or BBM Housing bilang suporta sa layunin at direktiba ni [as a support to the goal and directive of] Presidente Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos na tugunan ang kakulangan sa pabahay sa buong Pilipinas [to address the lack of housing in the entire Philippines],” NHA-XII Regional Manager Zenaida Cabiles explained.

She also highlighted the housing assistance program for IPs under NHA’s "Resettlement Assistance Program for Local Government Units,” which aims to promote indigenous peoples’ welfare and their right to get equal access to the government’s basic services, such as housing. (SJDM – PIA Cotabato Province)

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Harlem Jude Ferolino

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Region 12

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