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Address on the occasion of the visit to Muntinlupa City, Philippines
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Honourable Jaime Fresnedi, Mayor of the City of Muntinlupa , honorable members of Muntinlupa City Council, dear citizens of Muntinlupa City, Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and People’s Organizations, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to be here with you today to participate in this important event. I would like to thank Honourable Jaime Frenedi, Mayor of the City of Muntinlupa, the honorable members of Muntinlupa City Council, and the citizens of Muntinlupa City, for inviting me to visit your City and see directly the impressive accomplishments that you have achieved here to the benefit of the underprivileged members of your community.

As you know, I am visiting your marvellous country to participate in the launch of an important and unprecedented event that UN-HABITAT has had the honour to contribute to. It is the simultaneous launching of the two Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance. Indeed, these Campaigns have already been launched in a few countries separately, and their implementation has clearly indicated that they should be seen as two component of the same objective: making cities of the world inclusive and open to all their citizens, first among them the Urban Poor.

This visit of today is clearly confirming that UN-HABITAT was right in supporting the launch of these two campaigns in the Philippines. This celebration of seven years of cityhood of Muntinlupa and the experience of the Socialised Housing Programme that I was introduced to indicate clearly that we have the right partners in this Country, and in this City; partners who have the capacity and the will to successfully implement a challenging initiative.

Indeed this Programme indicates that the Philippines and the City of Muntinlupa have fully internalised the Habitat Agenda and the principles of the two Campaigns.

From what I have seen, I understand that this Programme is translating your belief in the virtue of collective effort as the basis of a sound strategy for housing the urban poor. This is based on a number of commendable principles that are key to your success.

First the involvement of all partners in the design and implementation of the Program. This concerns Government agencies, NGO’s, and most importantly People’s organisations. They are key stakeholders and best designated to carry out the important advocacy component you have chosen to develop. It is our experience that advocacy implies a participatory approach that should necessarily and directly involve the urban poor, as well as many other partners such as the private sector, central and local administration and potential financial contributors.

Then the mobilisation of financial resources and the securing of innovative financing schemes that address the needs of the urban poor, is another crucial priority. It is encouraging to know that you have developed very interesting models and used several complementary options including ADB funding, private sector, community mortgage funds as well as beneficiaries’ contributions. Concerning the beneficiaries of this programme, it is indeed very important to consider the urban poor as full actors in this process. They have indeed proven that, when given security of tenure and hope in the future they are most reliable partners.

Acquisition of land that is affordable to the urban poor and well located is essential for the future of the cities. Your Programme has made land available through judicious interim banking mechanisms which again demonstrates that the programme is sound.

Finally you have given to institutional and capacity building the necessary consideration and today’s event is, in my view, part of this training, capacity building and sensitisation process.

At this juncture I wish to strongly recommend that your already important accomplishments find in the Campaigns for Urban Governance and Secure Tenure the instruments that will give your Programme here in Muntinlupa, as well as other programmes throughout the country, the necessary additional support for further successes. You are obviously on the right track. I am sure that the principles of the campaigns that you have adopted, including granting secure tenure to the underprivileged, gender equity, negotiated resettlements when this becomes necessary, participatory governance, devolution, transparency, etc, will increase the momentum of your actions and will lead your citizens toward a brighter future.

I wish to commend the accomplishments that your city has achieved to date. Beyond the number of housing projects that have already been made available, I want to underscore what I see as the most important feature of this Program: it gives to the urban poor a right to the city and restores their dignity. This is rightly enshrined in the vision that underlines the Programme, " a model of proactive, sustainable and God-centered multi-sectoral organization addressing the housing needs of the homeless and underprivileged citizens of the City of Muntinlupa , through the active participation of all stakeholders". I recognise here the fundamental principles of both the Campaign for Secure Tenure and the Campaign on Urban Governance.

I know that this experience has been acknowledged in the Galling Pook Award and Best Practices of the League of Cities. I see that these distinctions are well deserved. They honour your city, and I will simply like to end by thanking all those who are involved in this programme for doing such a good job.

I thank you.

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