The medium-level housing units were built after almost three decades, with the struggle beginning in 1984 under the helm of Jess Maglente, the current president of the Metro Heights Compound Residents Association. Maglente, an informal settler, was often rebuffed by government agencies in his search to find out the real owner of the lot where he, along with other families, were currently living.
The 9,200 square meter plot of land was the first community-led acquisition to be obtained through expropriation in Quezon City. The land will also continue to be developed and will be filled with more housing units.
The housing units were built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC). The housing project is in line with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s One Safe Future Program (1SF).
When Roxas first saw the units, he remarked to Kit Belmonte, “Puwedeng mabuhay nang marangal dito.”
“Housing is not a luxury, it’s a human right,” Roxas said in his speech. “Housing is part of human dignity, at kabahagi ito ng Daang Matuwid.”
The DILG chief added that Barangay Culiat, along with the other Bistekville communities, will serve as a template for housing units throughout the Philippines: “Ito ang template. Ito and modelo para sa buong Pilipinas.”
“But even as we are celebrating the inauguration of this hard infrastructure, ang talagang pinagdiriwang natin sa hapong ito ay ang pagbabago sa buhay ng 94 na mga kababayan nating magmula ngayon ay mamumuhay ng mas maayos, may dangal,” Roxas said.
As part of the program, DILG has previously granted six city governments (Malabon, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, Navotas, and Manila) with socialized housing allotting P334.5-million seed fund during the Urban Poor Solidarity Week.
Roxas was also joined by House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Quezon City 2nd District Representative Winston Castelo, Quezon City 3rd District Representative Bolet Banal, Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, Habitat for Humanity CEO Charlito Ayco, and Culiat’s Barangay Captain Victor Bernardo.