The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) commits to work closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) following President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.’s directive to improve the implementation of the government’s Emergency Shelter Assistance Program (ESAP) for calamity victims, during his first State of the Nation Address, Monday.

The government’s ESAP provides assistance in the form of cash or construction materials  to augment resources of calamity-affected families who opt not be transferred to resettlement site, thus enabling them to repair their damaged houses.

Assistant Secretary Melissa Aradanas, DHSUD Officer-in-Charge, said that DHSUD accepts this challenge as a prime mover in rolling out the ESAP to families needing assistance during calamities. The ESAP will now become a core program of the Department in tight coordination with the DSWD.

“This is an enormous task as we are expected to make the delivery of emergency shelter assistance faster and better. However, I’m certain that we can improve our preparedness and responsiveness to disasters once we have a harmonized plan, backed by data from research and previous experiences,” Assistant Secretary Aradanas said.

“DHSUD will work closely with the DSWD for timely provision of ESAP,” Assistant Secretary Aradanas added.

As the country’s primary agency in housing, DHSUD also heads the Shelter Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and is mainly responsible for the distribution of emergency shelter assistance to calamity victims.  

In his SONA, President Marcos Jr. also calls for support from lawmakers to include the National Land Use Act (NLUA) as one of his 19 priority bills for urgent deliberation in the 19th Congress.

The President stressed that NLUA will provide “for a rational and holistic management and development of (the) country’s land and water resources, hold owners accountable for making these lands productive and sustainable, (and) strengthen the LGU to manage ecological balance within its jurisdiction.”

The NLUA is also part of the priority legislative agenda under the 2040 National Housing and Urban Development Sector Plan that DHSUD crafted and advocates for.  

“On our part, we vow DHSUD’s unwavering commitment to support PBBM’s shelter programs to better what we have achieved in the last three years,” Assistant Secretary Aradanas added. – Allan C. Biwang