Saturday, May 27, 2006

Batasan Hills

'Barangay' which means community in Tagalog (Filipino) was the key word for the day. Today we visited the barangay of Batasan Hills, where we hope to help the community by providing them with a design for a new Barangay Center (Community Center). Batasan Hills is one the largest districts within Manila, with an approximate population of 200,000 people. Their unanimously elected mayor, Capt. Rannie is a visionary for his people and through his Barangay Center he offers: his own police service (separate to that of the city), a judicial system (also separate to that of the city), a counseling program, and a mortgage program. This mortgage program offers these squatters through monthly payments, an opportunity for them within five to fifteen years the capacity for them to own their own land and become legitiment residents of the city. The counseling program headed by ate Millet (auntie Millet), is the cornerstone of the community, where the people are offered aid and guidance through a variety of family problems including rape, child abuse, infidelity, and even dog bites. Ate Millet has no background in such matters, except for the fact that she is an elder woman with life's experiences and that she is highly respected in the community. She offers people the chance to for them to come hash things out in her presence before possibly taking things to a higher judiciary.

(Above): ate Millet and the BuildAid team

(Left): Capt Rannie warning potential wrong doers that he will be the one to personally lay down the law

Batasan Hills is in need for a new Barangay Center, they have a new site of 2500 square meters, where they hope to have a seven floor structure with plenty of park space and a more improved organization. They hope to have the bottom three floors rented out as commercial space, where the center can receive its income. Then the top four floors accommodating all the services that exist in their current Community Center, and several other things in addition. Our job would be to provide them with a conceptual design for this Center, where we hope we can be sensitive to all their specific needs and wants. Capt. Rannie hopes to start construction on this new Barangay Center by June 2007.
(Above): The BuildAid team on site for the new Community Center

Also in Batasan Hills, Pastor Choy has abandoned his whole life to live in the slums with gangster youths in order to reform their lives, to lives of meaning and purpose. He has been living there for several years now, and has gained their trust. Through a youth center and church he has made a difference in alot of young lives, and more to come.

(Right): Pastor Choy

It doesn't appear that there's government structure in Manila to provide funding like we have in North America. How will Capt Rannie finance or fund the Barangay Center? Is the picture with the four story steel structure the beginning of the building project or is it still a concept? Do the McGill students have an option to work with their hands and backs (i.e., construction labour)or are they required to provide design, planning and review services only?

The pictures are worth a thousand words. Keep up the great work.
Hello just a dad,

Rannie is looking for loans from local banks. The building will also have commercial space, so he will get money from the businesses that want to set up there. I don't know how it works beyond that.

The building has not yet been started, and it's very unlikely we will take a role in the actual construction.. we will do the preliminary design - planning out the spaces, suggesting a form for the building, identifying the most important aspects that need to be considered in design.
Where is that structure built? good to go KAP, just make sure this bad elements of our brgy will be out so there's no hindrance to our success... i will regulary visit the site, i would like to remain Anonym for the mean time guysss..

just a tip, please keep an eye to those ilegal wire connection, we all know it's rampant esp in Sitio 1 basketball court area...
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