Keynote address of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay during the Countryside Development Fair & Opening of the GK Enchanted Farm at Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, Angat, Bulacan. October 2, 2011
Posted: Sunday, October 02, 2011
My dear friends and kindred spirits in the unofficial movement for a better Filipino life.
Nothing can be more exhilarating—amazing, in fact—than to watch dreams coming to life. I feel i belong here and seeing the results of your efforts, i have that sweet thought that if i never became a public servant i would have been Gawad Kalinga volunteer.
But our paths apparently would always cross, as we share the same vision. Where i come from—the job of coordination government’s multi-branched housing program—the concept of holistic community development has always been a fundamental principle. Building houses—that is, making shelter available especially to the poorer sector—must always go hand-in-hand in building communities. For that, too, is fundamental to building a nation.
A roof over one’s head is only the beginning of a better life. A livelihood sustains a family and empowers life to endure. And a community of empowered lives becomes the strength of a nation.
That’s why Gawad Kalinga’s enchanted farm, and this countryside development fair, are simply just on track to that vision. What better way to offer livelihood and sustenance to countryside settlers than a farm? And what better way to begin to make a farm economically viable than a country fair?
I really think that our hearts are in the right place and we literally put our money where our mouth is. Not only are this twin projects proof positive of Gawad Kalinga’s well-known volunteerism for shelter, they are also the organization’s unmistakable directional signs to social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
From these auspicious beginnings, i hope other likeminded volunteer organizations should consider Gawad Kalinga’s example.
Your invitation said that i would be sharing with you the government shelter sector’s experience on the topic of “sustainable communities: housing, food and livelihood for relocated informal settlers.” Seeing what you are now doing here, perhaps we might even have a lot to learn from you.
Again, that is how we kindred spirits. We can always learn from each other because we are treading the same path, heading towards the same direction.
In our Pabahay Caravan—where we bring the key shelter agencies on a region-hopping trip—we literally bring the national housing program to the local level. We mine the LGUs as much for their insights as for their actual local housing needs. Then we pair them with the proper shelter agencies whose programs can respond to their specific situations and requirements.
Then, we layout the plans for land-use, financing, local and individual capacities, resources, and so forth. And the national shelter effort becomes a truly local undertaking, and the response has been encouraging.
Lately we have been incorporating into the local housing plans the elements of climate change and disaster preparedness. Are the new housing development sites safe, of less or minimal risk for weather and climate eventualities?
Knowing Gawad Kalinga’s quality experience and knowledge, I am certain that you have considered these factors in your projects. Still, it is never redundant to talk about them in whichever stage of housing and resettlement work. It is also by way of a reminder from a kindred spirit.
But i know, again, that you have thought these all out. Looking at Gawad Kalinga’s nation building expo on its 8th anniversary, I am both comfortable and confident in our shared directions, and looking to an even more fruitful and continuing partnership.
As we say in the housing program, “ang sariling bahay ang simula ng magandang buhay.” At ang mga proyektong tulad ng ginagawa ng Gawad Kalinga—ang nagpapalakas sa pinagandang buhay ng mga komunidad.
A home to call one’s own empowers the family. Sustainable communities empower the nation.
Congratulations, thank you.