Posts tagged under Manila
The following is the second in a series of posts by guest writers María del Mar Garza and Rafael Barreto Souza. Their writings are based on an Anticipatory Policy Development Report done with Gautam Wahi and Saqib Manam as part of the Foresight and Public Policy Course at Lee Kuan Yew Shool of Public Policy under the supervision of Dr. Jose Ramos and with the support of the Asian Trends Monitoring.
An extensive analysis of datasets, testimonies, news stories and academic literature allowed us to identity five main drivers of the slums phenomenon in Metro Manila in the current policy state of affairs by using a systems mapping methodology: (1) government policy implementation; (2) political will; (3) employment; (4) real estate; and (5) poverty alleviation.
1. Government Policy Implementation
So far the Filipino government has faced difficulties in carrying out housing-related budget allocation in coordination with the LGUs (Asian Trends Monitoring 2012). Past policies towards slums in Manila have focused on relocating slum dwellers to newly built brickwork housing flats in peripheral areas. These policies have been ineffective and the limited housing units developed were incompatible with demand (Takahashi 2006).
If this trend continues over time the results will be ‘too-little-too-gradual’ to have any significant impact.
The following is the first in a series of posts by guest writers María del Mar Garza and Rafael Barreto Souza. Their writings are based on an Anticipatory Policy Development Report done with Gautam Wahi and Saqib Manam as part of the Foresight and Public Policy Course at Lee Kuan Yew Shool of Public Policy under the supervision of Dr. Jose Ramos and with the support of the Asian Trends Monitoring.
Slums in Metropolitan Manila are one of the major challenges faced in the Philippines for the next decades. In 2010, over 4 million people resided in slums, accounting for an estimated 40% of the capital’s population (M. M. Ballesteros, 2010). Located on formerly vacant lands, privately and publicly owned, they often spring along flood-prone riverbanks, garbage dumps, railroad tracks, and next to polluting industries (Ragragio, 2003, pág. 5).
Initially, it is important to find a workable definition for slums, particularly since in Tagalog the word slum has no direct equivalent. Shacks are interchangeably called: iskwater (adaptation from “squatter”), estero (smelly canals); eskinita (narrow alleys); looban (inaccessible inner slum areas); dagat-dagatan (flood-prone); bedspacer (bunk bedding rental accommodation for transient workers) (UN-Habitat, 2003, pág. 10). The definition used for this analysis is one enshrined by UN-HABITAT, which defines a “slum household as a group of individuals living under the same roof in an urban area who lack one or more of the following:
In 2012, we traveled to four cities and conducted a survey on the challenges for the urban poor. The result are four bulletins containing primary data and case studies from the field.
Throughout 2012 the Asian Trends Monitoring researcher team has traveled to four ASEAN cities with the goal to find out more about urban poverty and the major challenges the urban poor are facing today. We conducted a survey with a total sample size of 1,400 respondents (approx. 350 in each city). During our field visits we recruited local university students and NGO workers to run the survey in slums and poor neighbourhoods in Jakarta, Manila, Hanoi, and Vientiane. To read about our experiences click on the name of the respective city.
The survey had a “perception of difficulties” section comprising ten categories, each to be rated on a 5-point scale (from “easy” to “impossible/unable to do”). Below you will see a comparison of the five categories most frequently rated as “very difficult” to access by respondents in our survey.
Across all four cities the challenges of finding work opportunities and access to financial services (saving money) featured among the services most difficult to reach. Overcrowding and lack of space for the family were unique to Jakarta’s Poor with more than 200 respondents reporting it as an issue while lack of access to health services featured particularly prominently in Hanoi.
New infographic from the ATM team! In this one, we compare our urban poverty survey data between Jakarta and Manila, to see if there are any significant differences in the problems that these two fast-growing mega-cities face.
Click on this picture below to see the full infographic.
More entries on our research on urban poverty and life in Southeast Asia’s slums can be found here.
The international narrative on Manila paints the picture of a metropolis full of promise. Manila is the economic and political nucleus of a Philippines national economy that is at full throttle, with a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.7% per annum and a GDP per capita of US$4,073 in 2011, adjusted for purchasing power parity. The country itself has a Human Development Index rank that is higher than its GNI per capita rank, implying that the Philippines is doing very well on non-income HDI indicators. Where the government leaves gaps in service delivery, often, a thriving civil society in Manila sets out to serve the needy. There is a plethora of non-government organisations operating in the various sectors of the city.
However, this growing megacity is not without its problems. Approximately 16.3 million people inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometres, which makes it the most densely populated city in the world. This density is highest in the poor areas of the city: people living in Manila’s slums have to cook, work, and share their lives with 72,000 other people per square kilometre. These people often have trouble obtaining access to the most basic amenities such as clean water, modern sanitation, and health care. Moreover, depressed housing conditions, lack of job opportunities and rampant inequality are worrying trends among Manila’s urban population.
As a preview to the upcoming ATM Bulletin #17 on Manila’s poor, we are giving you a sneak peek of the accompanying infographic poster. Rather than describe it in detail, please click the picture below to see it in full (warning: it’s a 4MB PDF file) or download it by right-clicking the picture and choosing the “save link as…” option.
The team’s visit to Manila back in April revealed massive problems with the living conditions that many of the poor must contend with. The team has prepared a short video to share these findings. Watch the video by clicking on the picture below.
In the past few months our team has been busy collecting primary data from three different ASEAN cities: Jakarta, Manila, and Hanoi. Between April 9 and April 14 2012 the Asian Trends Monitoring team conducted a survey among Manila’s poor. We collected a total of 352 responses from nine different locations in Manila with the help of 14 researchers from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. This blog post is inspired by face to face interviews and some exploratory data analysis of the Manila data set.
Filipino communities stand out through their extraordinary community spirit, social events, and close family ties. Helping out family members and neighbours is part of the culture in the Philippines. Therefore, it is not surprising that 55% of our respondents say that their primary source for loans are relatives and friends. However, a close relationship comes with personal accountability and thus family is not always an option. The other commonly used loan service are informal money lenders, the so called “Bumbai”. Since the informal lending business in Manila is dominated by Turban-wearing Indians who drive by on their motorcycle on a daily basis, locals have given them the nickname “Bumbai” (a mix of the old Bombay, which is now officially Mumbai). Even though we asked around a lot, no one could tell us for sure when the man on the motorcycle would make his round. Attempts to find out where the Bumbai lived were (of course!) futile.
The ATM team visited Manila back in April, and one of the slums we visited was located in the middle of the Smokey Mountain dump site. We were able to speak to a social worker who told us about one of the main livelihoods of people in the area: charcoal-making.
Click the picture below to watch the video on Youtube.