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COMMUNITIES IN LAGUNA

GK Jose Rizal
GK COMMUNITY
Santa Cruz, Laguna
$0Number of families in the site :214  families$0Number of Families that can:516 families be accommodated$0Land Area:3 hectare$0Status of the Land:purchased by the city$0Floor Area per unit:20 sqm.$0Lot Area per family:30 sqm.$0House Design:row houses$0Kind of Development:Off-site (relocation site)$0$0Introduction to Majada – In Community$0Days prior to the devastation inflicted by Typhoon Milenyo that hit and damaged Calamba City on September 28, 2006, there have been squatter families that sought the help of the City Government for they have been living along the Latian Creek in Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Canlubang all their life. The City, in its mission to help the homeless and the poorest of the poor, found itself looking for a staging area to accommodate these families. As the area was being prepared for the transfer and as fate would have it, on midnight of September 28, 2006, Typhoon Milenyo (International Name: Xangsane), the hardest ever to hit the City, brought its massive destruction everywhere. Bridges collapsed, massive flooding, school buildings and houses damaged, trees uprooted, electric posts broken, agriculture suffered, it displaced many families living near creeks and riverbanks, and worst of all, many lives were lost.$0$0The Rise of the Relocation Site$0Immediately after the onslaught of Typhoon Milenyo, the City Government promptly dispatched the City Disaster Coordinating Council, City Social Welfare and Youth Development Office, Engineering, Bureau of Fire Protection, with help from the Philippine National Red Cross, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Army Reserve Command, Corporate partners, Civic groups and private individuals, in  coordination with the City Administration and Mayor’s Office, to help families devastated by the typhoon. Families whose houses were damaged partially or totally were brought to different public schools (Jose Rizal Elementary School, and San Cristobal Elementary School) for their immediate temporary shelter. These however, will not only affect the students in these schools, but it could also pose inconvenience and danger, prompting the City Government to once again transfer them to the Basketball Court of Barangays III and VII. Knowing that living here with only blankets to separate different families to one another is not healthy and safe, especially for the infants and children, the City Government sought the assistance of the Philippine National Red Cross and the Department of Social Welfare and Development and borrowed tents for temporary shelters of displaced families and Typhoon Milenyo victims. Harsh as it may sound, the relocation site was referred to as “Tent City”, but this is far better than living in creeks or basketball courts. To provide for a more permanent shelter for Typhoon Milenyo victims and other displaced families, the City Government looked for possible partnerships with other institutions. Fortunately, on December 8, 2006, the City Government formed partnership through a Memorandum of Agreement with the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc., (GK) to build a GK Village, a Majada – In Community in Barangay Canlubang. Groundbreaking and Concrete Plastering were done simultaneously. The job of the City Government did not end there, it continuously looked for other partnerships to finance a unit or two of not just houses but homes for the homeless. Elected City Officials donated one (1) shelter each, Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines Inc., and Pugad Lawin each donated artesian well. Epitah Foundation, Inc., also donated a shelter. The City Government however, got its biggest funding through the efforts of Atty. Manuel and Mrs. Milagros Chipeco-Ladrido, who relentlessly persuaded the President and the Chief Operations Officer of Gruppo Medica, Inc., and Intermed Marketing Philippines Inc., Mr. Tomas Victorino Meneses and Mrs. Cynthia Meneses, manufacturer and distributor of Cherifer Vitamins for kids. Because the project was well presented and actual GK Village was visited, the Meneses’ did not hesitate to form partnership with the City Government and Gawad Kaling, and on February 27, 2007, all parties inked the Memorandum of Agreement for the City to receive the donation of fifty (50) housing units for Cherifer and another fifty (50) housing units for Gruppo Medica Village, both in Majada – In, Barangay Canlubang. On August 11, 2007, hundreds of guests and partners bear witness to the Turn-over Ceremony of Tatag Homes to the initial thirty (30) beneficiary families. During the Turn-over Ceremony, children as young as two year olds surprised everyone with their song number, it may just be singing to them but everyone almost cried when they rendered their song, knowing that these children will not be squatters anymore. That day, they had a decent shelter and a community to live in. This is only the beginning. More homes will be built so that more families will be accommodated. This is not just an ordinary housing project, because we are not only building houses, WE ARE BUILDING A COMMUNITY. We do not want to just release families from squatting, we want to provide them decent shelters, teach values formation, and uplift their dignity and self-worth. It is definitely a huge task, so huge that the City Government and Gawad Kalinga is looking for partnership. Partners, not donors, because donors merely donate, partners commit themselves. The City Government believes that huge tasks like these needs commitment, not only from the City Government but from partners and beneficiaries as well.$0

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