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Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario on Monday broke ground for the construction of the Arkong Bato Disiplina Village – Valenzuela City’s fourth such settlement project for informal settler families (ISFs).
With Valanzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Secretary Del Rosario took part in the groundbreaking and capsule-laying for 20 three-story buildings that will accommodate 720 ISFs residing in danger zones throughout the city.
The project, to be undertaken in coordination with the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Valenzuela City local government unit, will also feature the Arkong Bato Park where residents can spend their leisure time and connect with nature.
“Si Mayor Rex ang nagsimula ng rental housing program dito sa Valenzuela and that is the direction of DHSUD, most especially in urban areas dahil napakasikip na po ng ating mga siyudad. Sixty-five percent of residents will be residing in urban communities by 2050, so there is no way but to go up in our residential units,” the housing czar said.
“In the rental housing program, double-purpose ang ginawa ng Valenzuela City para maging zero ang informal settlers at danger zones. Sa aking paglilibot sa buong bansa, Visayas, Mindanao or anywhere in Luzon, kapag pinag-uusapan ang housing, ang aking model ay ang Disiplina Villages of Valenzuela City,” he added.
Also in attendance during the activity were Valenzuela City local government officials and representatives from the NHA and DBM. DHSUD Assistant Secretary Leira Buan likewise accompanied the housing czar at the event.
The soon-to-rise settlement site will also feature concrete roads, markings and alleys, drainages and sewer system, as well as individual power and service connection. Arkong Bato is the fourth Disiplina Village in the city following the success of those located in Barangays Ugong, Bignay and Lingunan.
Monday’s event coincided with the 152nd birthday of Dr. Pio Valenzuela, one of the country’s most prominent Katipuneros to whom the city was named after. “Itong proyekto na ito, dito nagtatagpo ang nakaraan at kinabukasan ng Valenzuela,” Mayor Gatchalian stressed.
“Pangarap ni Dr. Valenzuela ang inklusibong komunidad, inklusibong syudad. And what a better way para sumimbulo rito ay ang pampublikong pabahay. Kaya dito makikita natin ang nakaraan, yung Arkong Bato, pero dito rin natin makikita ang kinabukasan ng Valenzuela City, isang lungsod na walang napapabayaan, niyayakap yung mga mamamayan na maaaring naiiwanan sa laylayan ng lipunan,” he noted.
Commending the local chief executive for a job well done in promoting rental housing, Secretary Del Rosario said those who will be resettled in Arkong Bato are very fortunate as they will be able to live in a world-class environment.
“Napakaganda po rito dahil ang rental housing program ay kapareha ng ginagawa sa Singapore. Kaya napakaganda because of the estate management being provided by the city government. Mayroon na kayong security, mayroon pa kayong health services at lahat ng issues kayang i-resolve ng LGU sa tulong ng homeowners’ association,” the DHSUD chief noted.
Earlier in the day, Secretary Del Rosario also graced the inaugural ceremony of BALAI Net Project with Alpha-3 Technologies at the Disiplina Village in Barangay Bignay. The joint program aims to provide faster, more affordable and accessible Internet services to government housing programs nationwide.
Secretary Del Rosario said the BALAI Net projects will benefit residents of government settlement sites as its cost will be 30% less compared to the industry standard offered by other telecommunications companies. It is also seen to improve their respective livelihoods, be utilized by students in their online studies and boost connectivity especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“One way of learning to live with COVID-19 is through connectivity. ‘Yan ang ipo-provide ng BALAI Net,” Secretary Del Rosario said.
Joining him at the activity were ASec. Buan and Alpha-3 Technologies President and Chief Executive Officer Kristin Bangot.
The BALAI Net rollout is slated to reach other housing projects of DHSUD’s key shelter agencies in line with the Department’s mandate of building inclusive communities nationwide.