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Strengthening the capacity of national and local stakeholders in promoting tenure security of the urban poor in the Philippines

Partners from TAMPEI (Technical Assistance Movement for People and Environment Inc.) together with the mapping team present the results of the data analysis from the community mapping and STDM to the community representatives and representatives from Barangay local government unit (LGU)

In the Philippines, where an approximate of 2.5 million informal settlers still live in poverty, where basic services are almost non-existent and where the threat of eviction is prevalent, the Technical Assistance Movement for People and Environment Inc. (TAMPEI) in partnership with Homeless Peoples Federation Philippines (HPFP), continuously work to improve the tenure security of informal settler families (ISFs) through the use and application of GLTN land tools and approaches including the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM), participatory mapping and enumeration. The use of STDM in gathering community mapping data has been beneficial especially in community organizing, soliciting support from partners, land negotiations, and community planning. The STDM tool has proved useful in generating community maps since the data is easily accessible and can be extracted from the regularly updated databases. This has been particularly valuable for the community because it facilitates greater awareness of their situation and galvanizes their quest to advocate for better and livable human settlements. Additionally, their active participation in the participatory processes has opened opportunities for community organizing, settlements’ upgrading initiatives and land negotiation processes. To date, TAMPEI and HPFPI have mapped out 186 informal settlements in Muntinlupa and Davao cities.

A local NGO partner in Muntinlupa leads the facilitation of validation session with the community leaders.

Moreover, several capacity building initiatives have been organized and conducted especially at the community level to enhance their knowledge on land issues, including training on legal literacy on land, proposal writing workshops as an input to the annual investment plan (AIP) of the city, several technical trainings on handling GPS, computer literacy, and the different versions of STDM. A technical working group (TWG) at community level has also been formed as part of enhancing leadership skills of the community especially on the process of negotiating with the landowners and more importantly to represent the ISF sector in the city. In fact, a community member was selected to represent the ISF sector at the local housing board of the city in 2018. This is a significant milestone towards advocating people’s participation in planning and a substantial steppingstone on community empowerment.

In 2019, TAMPEI organized the first TAHANAN Summit (tahanan means ‘home’) in collaboration with the UN-Habitat Philippines with the theme “Influencing policies on land and housing towards secure tenure for all“. The event brought together participants from the national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), academia, professionals, and students. It aimed to: 1) serve as a platform for sharing experiences, best practices and lessons learned in implementing innovative and alternative strategies in creating inclusive human settlements; 2) spark national and local-level dialogues on policy-making on land rights and urban tenure security especially concerning vulnerable sectors; and, 3) raise awareness and create open partnership in the localization and attainment of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and particularly on SDG 11. Since then, several engagements and collaborations between TAMPEI and UNHP have been made including some short-term research on UNHP’s climate project during the COVID-19. The partnership between TAMPEI and UNHP has created opportunities to further discuss the issues of land and housing through giving space for CSO sector to participate in the localization of New Urban Agenda in the Philippines. This was also in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DSHUD) where UNHP is the main partner.

This year 2023, DSHUD and UN Habitat officially launched the Philippine Urban Forum (PhUF 2023), with the theme, “Road to Better, Greener, Smarter Human Settlements and Urban Systems in a more Inclusive Philippines”. This sets the stage for key urban stakeholders, actors, and decision makers to gather for the largest national conference on sustainable urbanization in October 2023. Aligned with World Urban Forum’s design, PhUF will serve as a venue to further enhance discussion on sustainable urbanization. TAMPEI, being one of the representatives for the urban poor sector, has been invited to be in the steering committee of the said event. Being one of the urban poor sectors, it was agreed that one of the partners, HPFP will represent in the steering committees.

Participants of the first TAHANAN Summit organized by TAMPEI and co-organized by UN Habitat Philippines with participants from local government unit (LGU), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), other partner NGOs and community representatives