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NGO hopes to contribute to Marcos administration’s 4PH program

NGO contributes to 4PH program

A housing non-government organization (NGO) hopes to make a significant contribution to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino (4PH) program, which aims to build six million houses during his term to address the country’s housing backlog.

“We are trying to contribute to that one million houses a year because we believe this is really aligned with our mission of providing a home for every Filipino,” Mardi Mapa-Suplido, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, said during the “Build Beyond Today” Luncheon organized by Habitat for Humanity, Hilti Foundation, and Base Bahay Foundation on Wednesday in Makati City.

One of the largest international housing non-government organizations in the world, Habitat for Humanity has been in the Philippines for 35 years and has already built more than 150,000 houses for underprivileged Filipinos.

She also expressed optimism that the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the main implementer of the 4PH program, can consider Habitat for Humanity’s multi-modal approach that best fits certain situations of Filipinos, especially those residing in rural areas.

Habitat for Humanity is currently using the eco-friendly Cement Bamboo Frame (CBF) technology that can weather natural disasters and reduce carbon emissions for its housing project in Negros Occidental, in partnership with the Hilti Foundation and the Base Bahay Foundation.

“We’ve already built almost 500 of these Cement Bamboo Frame houses in Negros. We have about 322 in Silay and we’re building 40 more now. We’ve built 60 in San Carlos and we’re building more,” Mapa-Suplido said, adding they are aiming for an additional 2,000 housing units this year.

“The cement-bamboo frame not only builds houses but also contributes to the local economy and the resiliency of the Philippines as a whole,” she added.

During the event, Johann Baar, Director of Affordable Housing and Technology at HIlti Foundation, introduced innovative bamboo housing technologies aimed at assisting vulnerable informal settler families to different national and local government officials.

Baar said bamboo is the perfect material for building affordable housing projects due to its resiliency, sustainability, and affordability. “We’ve tested bamboo in our labs for many years regarding its resiliency. It’s strong and flexible at the same time,” he said.

When produced according to the standards of Hilti Foundation, a non-profit that provides technical solutions to construction initiatives, Barr said bamboo can withstand wind speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour and earthquakes up to 7.5 on the Richter Scale.

“Supply is not an issue as bamboo is a local material,” he pointed out, adding it creates employment and knowledge even in remote parts of the country because it is harvested and treated locally.

“Our study showed that bamboo’s ecological performance is 70 percent better than conventional materials, and it is affordable,” Baar quipped.

Providing indigent families in Silay City, Negros Occidental with a home they can call their own through Hilti Foundation’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Base Bahay Foundation gives them security that extends to different fields of their lives.

“Health is an obvious one, and education for their kids who now have a safe space to do their homework. Livelihood becomes a priority for these families because they don’t have to worry about the other challenges in life,” Barr said.

The government officials who champion socialized housing toured Base Bahay Foundation’s Base Innovation Center and learned the entire process of building a resilient home.

The event was attended by Swiss Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Tim Fürst, Cong. Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Kiko Benitez, Pinuno Partylist Rep. Howard Ivan Guintu, DHSUD Undersecretary Samuel Young, and legislative officers of different senators and congressmen.

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