|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Examples of public-private sector-civil society partnerships for making services accessible to the poor are evolving and generating positive results in a socialized housing project/resettlement site administered by the National Housing Authority (NHA) in the Municipality of Calauan (Province of Laguna). The partnership initiatives have been directed at helping 5,896 families in Sites 1, 2, and 3 of the NHA housing project, collectively referred to as Southville 7. Since it was given by NHA the operation and management responsibilities of Southville 7 in 2009, the ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (AFI), a media-based NGO, has successfully mobilized resources for the residents of Southville 7 from 52 partner organizations and individuals. AFI's efforts have resulted in the construction and rehabilitation of 1,500 housing units, recreational facilities, and public market; installation of 14 shallow wells; development and upgrading of Sites 2 and 3; construction of a livelihood and training center; provision of livelihood and training programs to residents; donations of sewing machines, power tools, computers; provision of health facilities and health professionals; and installation of 132 solar street lights. AFI has also been involved in improving educational outcomes in Southville 7 by upgrading school facilities, teacher training, curriculum development, school feeding program, and reading program. Total contributions and donations mobilized by AFI for Southville 7 since 2009 amounted to more than $5.25 million. The magnitude of multisectoral partnerships initiated by AFI in Southville 7 easily stands out among the low-cost housing projects and resettlement sites of NHA in the country.
While significant gains in improving the community and social infrastructure of Southville 7 have been achieved, major challenges remain. According to a recent survey of AFI, 50% of the labor force is unemployed and majority of those who are employed work in Metro Manila. Only 507 or 8.6% of the total families in Southville 7 have electricity in their houses. The residents are exposed to fire and health hazards as kerosene, candles, and firewood are commonly used. Without electricity, the productivity of residents is significantly diminished and economic activities are stifled. Children find it difficult to study at night. Potable water is provided in six water stations in the community and the costs range from $3.30 to $1.09 per cubic meter. On the average, this is 457 % higher than anywhere in the province of Laguna ($0.48 per cubic meter) and 757% higher than Metro Manila ($0.29 per cubic meter). Residents, mostly women, queue for long hours to get water from the existing communal shallow wells, which have been found to be contaminated. Frequent incidences of gastrointestinal and water-borne diseases have been reported. The limited access to clean water has adversely affected the hygiene and sanitation in the community.
The NHA and the Calauan LGU are finding it difficult to cope with meeting the development needs of the Southville 7. Insofar as the 5,896 families in Southville 7 represent a 41% increase in Calauan's population of 14,249 families based on the 2008 census, the total income (which is 81% dependent on national subsidy) of the Calauan LGU has not even been adequate to support the service delivery requirements of its original population.
Another key challenge to Southville 7 residents is the lack of livelihood opportunities in Calauan and neighboring areas. About 45% of the employed residents in Southville 7 work and stay in Metro Manila during weekdays and return to Southville 7 only on weekends. Mothers who are usually left behind in Southville 7 throughout the week have to perform most of the household chores, including getting water from communal sources. While struggling to secure stable sources of income, the poor residents of Southville 7 have to contend with higher costs of basic services spending about 70% of their monthly income on water, energy or fuel requirements for cooking and lighting, and transportation. While some of the Southville 7 residents were beneficiaries of the Government's Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in communities where they used to live, their transfer to Calauan excluded them from the program despite still being among the poorest members of the population.
Amidst challenges, the activities and experiences in Southville 7 highlight the benefits and huge potentials of private sector and civil society participation in building communities and improving living conditions. AFI's initiatives in Southville 7 present an innovative and thriving approach for expanding multisectoral partnerships to better respond to the needs of the poor and provide strategic support to sustainable development of many similarly situated communities in the country. Characterized by an integrated and people-centered approach to community building, AFI's work promotes social responsibility, volunteerism, and participatory governance. As AFI expands its resource base and development assistance to Southville 7, the NHA and Calauan LGU does not only want AFI's work scaled up and replicated, but also enhance their capacities as development managers. It is in this context that a demonstration project is proposed to strengthen and sustain public-private sector-civil society partnerships initiated by AFI for empowering communities, enhancing service delivery, and improving the lives of the poor.
The project is consistent with the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), 2011 2016. The PDP emphasizes equitable access to basic social services, particularly for poor and vulnerable groups, and gives priority to proper resettlement of informal settlers. It calls for the integration of basic infrastructure support, such as adequate provision of safe drinking water and electricity to resettlement sites. Key PDP strategies are reflected in the project design. First, the PDP recommends the adoption of community-driven development (CDD) approaches in social development programs and projects, in which local communities take control in planning, implementation, and resource investments. Second, the PDP aims for the convergence of social protection programs in terms of targeting poor beneficiaries and geographic areas, to fully maximize resources and create more impact on beneficiaries. Third, the PDP recognizes the essential role of the private sector as the main engine for economic growth and national development; thus, the government has committed to use private investment for key infrastructure and social services. This demonstration project will pilot a model for partnership building and innovative interventions such as CDD in improving access to basic services in Southville 7.
The project is aligned with the Philippines country assistance program evaluation of ADB which recommends encouraging greater private sector participation in the provision of key infrastructure and basic services through public private partnership (PPPs). The project objectives also sit well with ADB's Strategy 2020, which emphasizes partnership building as a driver of change in reducing poverty and improving living conditions and quality of life. The project's focus on enhancing access by the poor to basic services is consistent with ADB's Country Partnership Strategy 2011 2016 for the Philippines that includes improved and equitable delivery of basic services as a key development outcome.