Sitio Libis, Metro Manila


Sitio Libis, Metro Manila

Mismatches Location Vulnerable groups Climate change
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance
Urban Design Liveability Inclusion Participatory processes
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Self-promotion Progressive housing Favelas/Slums
Ownership and tenure Property registry Land ownership

Main objectives of the project

Sitio Libis residents, threatened with eviction, engaged in a saving strategy with HPFPI's assistance to secure land tenure. They navigated government programs and partnered with TAMPEI for a negotiated re-blocking project, alleviating challenges like flooding and narrow streets. This case underscores the transformative potential of community-led initiatives bolstered by NGO and government collaboration in addressing social and environmental issues.


  • 2019: Construction


  • Architect: TAMPEI


Continent: Asia
Country/Region: Philippines, Quezon City [Manila]


For decades, the inhabitants of Sitio Libis dwelled informally on privately-owned land, lacking legal entitlement and facing constant eviction threats. In 2010, the landowner, a bank, issued a one-year ultimatum: purchase the land for 30 million Philippine pesos or face eviction. Fearing displacement, residents sought assistance from local authorities and contacted various organizations for help. The Homeless People's Federation of the Philippines (HPFPI) was the sole responder, offering a savings strategy to secure tenure.

Initially hesitant, the community eventually embraced collective saving as the optimal path to secure their tenure. With 1.5 million pesos saved, they approached "Homeless" (the federation) for an additional 1.5 million loan, enabling them to make the full 10% down payment on the land. This paved the way for the government's Community Mortgage Program (CMP), facilitating the land transfer to the community association, with the government covering the remaining balance under the CMP.

With secure tenure achieved, the community engaged in negotiations with the government to address settlement conditions. They faced acute shocks like perennial flooding, partly attributed to man-made factors such as factory interventions obstructing drainage channels. Additionally, tangled electrical wiring posed fire risks, compounded by narrow streets hindering emergency services' access. With newfound tenure rights, the community compelled government action.

To address these challenges, they initiated a reblocking project with TAMPEI's assistance, involving a comprehensive management plan. This included drainage improvement, solid waste management, road widening, and home upgrades. Negotiating the reblocking process, the community managed to minimize relocations and disruptions. It was a slow start, given regulatory road width requirements, but eventual amendments allowed for progress, supported by a 15 million peso grant from the National Government.

The re-blocking initiative necessitated the modification of houses to accommodate road widening, a process negotiated and overseen by the community to minimize displacement and disturbance. Initial progress was sluggish due to regulations mandating six-meter-wide access roads, significantly impacting housing space. Eventually, the city government relented, reducing the road width requirement to four meters, contingent on the installation of fire hydrants at strategic points, a process requiring four years for legal amendment.

It was another three years before the re-blocking endeavor commenced, aided by 15 million pesos secured from the National Government through HPFPI and TAMPEI support. This funding facilitated the relocation of displaced residents. Community members collaborated to ensure housing for all, exemplified by instances where homeowners sacrificed parts of their own homes to accommodate those in need or those whose houses were teared down because of the redesign of roads. The re-blocking efforts also encompassed improvements in drainage and electrical wiring to mitigate flooding and fire hazards.

The reblocking project exemplifies how community-led initiatives can drive positive transformation. However, it underscores the necessity of external support for significant change in low-income communities. In Sitio Libis, the collaborative efforts of NGOs, government entities, and the private sector were instrumental in facilitating positive community outcomes. While the community demonstrated self-mobilization in addressing natural and social challenges, their success was augmented by leveraging available support systems and programs provided by governmental and civil society organizations.