University of Tasmania
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The concept of urban renewal in metropolitan Manila : an analysis

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:42 authored by Beltran, Jose V (Jose Villareal)
A distinctive feature of the urban renewal effort in Metropolitan Manila is the policy requiring the minimum displacement of families vis - a- vis the provision of the basic needs of man or of a human settlement. To carry out this policy, a comprehensive upgrading and improvement in situ that integrates social service improvements and physical improvements was undertaken. The scheme called for the participation of a host of government agencies to overcome, among others, financial constraints and jurisdictional limitation. This led to the interaction, interrelationship, and coordination among various departments and offices involved in the solution of a problem. This effort to make Metropolitan Manila livable and pleasant includes Tondo. It is the largest squatter slum in Manila. Tondo-related activities have a formative impact on the government urban renewal program because it is the first comprehensive slum upgrading project ever undertaken. For all intents and purposes, therefore, the Tondo project is a prototype of city renewal in the Philippines. Experiences gained in the Tondo project implementation period will help strengthen the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Metropolitan Manila Commission (MMC). Particularly, NHA and its parent agency, the Ministry of Human Settlements (MHS) are expected to increase significantly its capacity to plan and implement similar slum upgrading and sites and services projects in other parts of Metropolitan Manila and in other cities in the Philippines. The project would also help the government to develop institutions, reexamine existing policies and programs and formulate new ones to deal with the problems of urban growth. One of the existing policies which this study suggests government should examine is its budgetary orientation re securing first the foundation infrastructures before the direct provision of services. Such partiality to public buildings and edifices, roads, and drainage and sewerage systems leads to an incrementalist and palliative attention to the other basic needs. Although the poor may enjoy to a certain extent the benefits derived from these physical facilities, they may remain as poor as ever because they now have to worry, for instance, about rentals which did not bother them at all when they were living in makeshift dwellings built in squatter areas. Indeed, city renewal must fulfil several objectives: social, physical, economic, educational. Moreover, it must aim at the spiritual needs of the individual and the community. These goals must be pursued to avoid paying lip-service to providing the basic needs which the government has espoused and committed itself so very vocally. Serious consideration of this four-point objective would also mean a departure from the traditional. response of the Philippine government to the problem of slum and squatter areas, i.e., a series of ad hoc, crisis-oriented projects generally involving pre-fabricated homes and major relocations to distant sites, which have not been very successful. Principal difficulties have been a lack of nearby employment opportunities and inadequate services, especially transportation. In fact, there was no distribution of social infrastructure. The most important aspect of social infrastructure is the quality of human resources, meaning, the capacity of labour to enjoy the benefits of growth and to contribute to productivity itself. By placing the discussion within the time frame, 1975-1980, the circumstances shaping the urban renewal effort are sequentially presented. It was in these years that decisions to upgrade and improve Metropolitan Manila became bolder: for example, foreign loans to finance social rather than economic infrastructure whose investment returns will not be readily quantified in terms of cash. Chapter I describes the background of the effort. In a more or less historical perspective, this scenario gives account of the events that moulded Metropolitan Manila into its present form, i.e., urban blight and subhuman living conditions in its squatter slum areas, specifically, Tondo. Chapter II analyses the conceptual framework of the effort. This is followed by the two chapters dealing with the application of the concept. Chapter III discusses the city renewal activities in the entire Metropolitan Manila composed of four cities and thirteen municipalities, and Chapter IV deals with the slum clearance and improvement of Tondo itself. Chapter V concludes with a cautionary note on the need to review the government policy allocating the major bulk of its meagre resources to infrastructures and physical facilities to the detriment of the other basic necessities not only of the individual citizen but also of the larger community.


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Copyright 1981 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1982

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