UP and QCG agree to build shelters for ISFs in UP Diliman

| Written by Franco Gargantiel II

 

University of the Philippines and Quezon City Government officials present the signed usufruct agreement. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO

The University of the Philippines (UP) and the Quezon City Government (QCG), represented by UP President Angelo A. Jimenez and QC Mayor Ma. Josefina “Joy” G. Belmonte, respectively, formalized a 25-year usufruct agreement that will allow the provision of decent shelter for informal settler families (ISFs) in two temporary relocation sites (TRS) inside the UP Diliman campus. 

The ceremonial signing of the agreement will benefit qualified families, including those affected by the UP Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Diliman project in Pook Arboretum and those displaced by a fire in May 2022, and families in Pook Marilag. The ceremony was held at the UP Board of Regents Room in Quezon Hall, UP Diliman, on June 19, 2024.

Under this agreement, the QCG will be responsible for the relocation of the ISFs, the construction of at least 300 housing units for them to live in, and management of the TRS, among others, including the provision and maintenance of facilities for water, electricity, and sewage disposal. UP, on the other hand, will provide the land for the TRS and ensure that pertinent policies will be implemented by the QCG. UP also has the right to terminate the usufruct agreement on reasonable grounds. 

The Pook Arboretum TRS has an area of approximately 12,236 square meters while the Pook Marilag TRS measures about 36,175 square meters. The UP Board of Regents approved the proposed agreement in April this year.

President Jimenez said that he is looking forward to the success of this collaborative effort that aims to resolve a complex problem. “This is a long-term but temporary solution, and it will give us breathing space to imagine a far more comprehensive resolution, a very humane, just, and legal way to address the issues of informal settlers,” he said. 

Mayor Belmonte emphasized the importance of having trust and shared values in order to look after the needs and rights of ISFs. “We have come here today, asking you to trust us as we embark on this shared journey of looking for ways to solve the biggest problem for me in Quezon City, which is helping our less fortunate brothers and sisters secure housing,” she said. 

UP President Jimenez and QC Mayor Belmonte discuss the importance of the agreement. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO

 

“We realized that the beginning of progress starts with people calling a place their home… Malaking bagay ‘yan sa pagbabago ng mindset nila [na maging] mamamayang may responsibilidad at civic duties sa lungsod na tinitirhan,” she explained.  

Belmonte was accompanied by: Carlo Lopez Austria, head of the Quezon City Legal Department; Ramon T. Asprer, head of the Housing Community Development and Resettlement Department (HCDRD); Action Officer Al Flores; and QCG staff. 

Jimenez was joined by: Faculty Regent Carl Marc L. Ramota; Student Regent Sofia Jan D.G. Trinidad; Secretary of the University Roberto M.J. Lara; Executive Vice President Jose Fernando T. Alcantara; Vice President for Academic Affairs Leo D.P. Cubillan; Vice President for Planning and Finance Iryn Y. Balmores; Vice President for Development Daniel C. Peckley, Jr.; Vice President for Legal Affairs Abraham Rey M. Acosta;  Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Jeanette L. Yasol-Naval; Peter A. Sy, Assistant Vice President for Development (Digital Transformation); Richard S. Javier, Assistant Vice President for Administration (Human Resource Development); UP Diliman Chancellor Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II; and UP staff.

 

UP and Quezon City Government officials pose for a group photo after the signing of the usufruct agreement. Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO