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Philippines: Support efforts to protect housing for urban poorpoor

July 29, 2008

The impoverished residents of Baseco Compound, a slum area in Manila, Philippines, want the government, in particular President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to stick to her decision in 2002 when she promised 56 hectares as a site for their housing, a promise she has publicly repeated.

However, government officials now say that Baseco’s 56 hectares will be expanded by reclaiming from the sea another 124 hectares. Of the 180 hectares, only 10 hectares will be allocated for the urban poor while the rest will be sold or used for commercial purposes, clearly not enough for the 7,000-10,000 families living in Baseco. All families will be removed.

The residents oppose this move by the government, and intend to bring a case to the Supreme Court on the matter.

Action request: Please write a letter to Philippines’ President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, urging her to protect the families’ land and honor her decision. See draft letter below.

For more information, visit the website/blog of Urban Poor Associates (UPA), an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit human rights organization in the Philippines. UPA campaigns for the protection of housing rights and the prevention of forced evictions and illegal demolitions. It was established to educate families in housing rights matters and assist communities in eviction crises.

Draft letter to President Macapagal Arroyo

Copy, paste into word processing program (e.g. Word) and personalize. Then print out to send via the mail service or by fax, or send using the web or email addresses listed below.


H.E. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

President, Republic of the Philippines

Office of the President

New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace Compound

J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila

Fax +63 2-736-1010, +63 2-735-6167


Dear Mrs. President,


We have heard of the problems affecting the Baseco people who fear they will be removed from their homes so the present land can be used for commercial purposes. They ask that government preserve their homes in Baseco because they have invested time and money on their houses, believing that the land proclaimed for them would really be theirs. Also, they are now near their jobs and schools. Won’t such a vast change in the government’s plans for Baseco undermine in the eyes of poor people the value of your excellent land proclamation program?


The people say they do not know if you are aware of the harsh consequences of the Philippine Reclamation Authority’s plans.


We have few good examples around the world of decent treatment of a city’s poor people. We urge you to do what is possible for the people of Baseco, as you have promised.


We will be very grateful if you can accommodate the poor families of Baseco.


Thank you, Mrs. President.








International dialing code from the U.S. to the Philippines is 63; the city code for Manila (and all cities listed below) is 2.


Cc.       Hon. Andrea Domingo

General Manager and CEO

Philippine Reclamation Authority

7th Floor, Legaspi Tower 200 Building

107 Paseo de Roxas, Legaspi Village, Makati

Tel. 817-4711 to 13 loc 147; Fax 815-2662


Hon. Alfredo S. Lim

City Mayor

City of Manila

Antonio Villegas Street

Ermita, Manila

Tel 527-4991; Fax 527-4983


Hon. Noli de Castro

Vice President, Republic of the Philippines

Chairman, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council

9th Floor BDO Plaza, Paseo de Roxas


Tel 811-4168; Fax 811-4158



Hon. Federico Laxa

General Manager

National Housing Authority

Elliptical Road, NHA Compound

Quezon City

Tel 922-2460; Fax 922-2058


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