Community Mobilization Strategy in Advancing Urban Social Development: The Case of Metro Manila

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Jessica VILIRAN, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Philippines
Urban social movement in the Philippines is largely shaped by neoliberal programs that became factors in the creation as well as demolition of slums. The continuing intensification of these policies at present is observed in different government programs including socialized housing program implemented through public-private partnerships (PPP) with major Filipino conglomerates and foreign partners, private developers who are aggressively engaged in various infrastructure projects (road, air, port, and railroad) and in mass housing programs through guaranteed payments from government. Amidst the present declaration of growth of Philippine economy, demolitions of various communities all over Metro Manila remarkably occur one after another. With projects that are implemented in the name of ‘development’ unfavorably posing aggressive intervention and adversities in the life of people in the urban communities, and policies passed without people’s insights taken into consideration, conflict confrontation in the form of community mobilization (people’s organized, coordinated, sustained and joint effort), becomes the key method of political participation. Its primary focus as a strategy is on changing the role and character of the government in relation to social development. 

The study aimed to present the perspective of the urban poor in their continuous struggle in advancing social development specifically their basic right to housing. Knowledge should be based on experience, hence, the experiences of urban poor communities are valuable resources in coming up with epistemologies which are lacking in various fields and are necessary in better understanding the problems in the first place. This study cites concrete campaigns against attempts by claimants to urban community lands and against threats of demolition throughout the years. It documents community mobilization as a crucial strategy in securing community representation amidst attempts to exclude them in the political and legal spheres and presents the urban poor sector’s critique to existing housing programs.