Empowering Communities for Housing and Community Services

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The case study looks at the work of Damayan ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api (DAMPA, Solidarity of Oppressed Poor Filipinos), a network of more than 90,000 poor urban households, which works to provide “viable solutions to basic poverty problems endemic to the urban poor” (DAMPA 2004).

The Philippines, with its booming population, faces a massive housing problem. Informal housing arrangements, substandard structures, congestion, a lack of relocation areas, rising criminality in overcrowded spaces, land-use conflicts and a lack of access to social services characterize this housing dilemma.

In the 1990s, widespread demolitions displaced many informal settlers in Metro Manila. Victims and their families responded by organizing themselves. Among those that organized early was the umbrella organization Philippines Poverty Relief, DAMPA. It was created to demand not just housing and relocation from different levels of government, but also the social services that should go with them.

This case study summary is one of seven that reflect on civil society monitoring and advocacy initiatives in the Philippines – all of which aim to improve government accountability in different sectors – through the lens of vertical integration.