San Fernando City, La Union- The Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), project holder of a World Bank grant, and the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc., (JVOFI) project implementer, turned over the Urban Partnerships for Sustainable Upliftment, Renewal Governance and Empowerment (UPSURGE) project to the City of San Fernando, La Union in ceremonies held on 26 November 2009 at the Fisherman’s Village, Bgy. Poro.
Through the project, core housing units constructed under a previous project were improved to become livable for the fishermen relocated from the danger zones in Ilocanos Sur and Ilocanos Norte. The resettled families used to live in the salvage zone 22 meters from the shore where structures should not be built due to vulnerability to disasters.
The beneficiaries organized themselves as the Fisherman’s Village Association which were assisted by the Foundation in improving their organizational and financial capacity. Through the association, the development plans were put together with the families. The project also made possible the establishment of a local structure to oversee the housing needs of the underserved sector in the City.
Ma. Rosario R. Lopez, Executive Director of JVOFI, noted that the project’s successful implementation was made possible by the harmonious relationship of the major partners: the Fisherman’s Village, the Local Government Unit, and JVOFI .
San Fernando City’s Vice-Mayor Pancrasio Q. Nisce said that the City of San Fernando is grateful for being selected as a partner for the implementation of the project and explained that the project is being considered as a model for future housing projects.
Aside from improved housing conditions, the UPSURGE project also provided better physical and environmental conditions for the selected beneficiaries. The project constructed a multi-purpose hall for community events. Partnerships between the City and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) gave the families opportunities to improve their income. The Fisherman’s Village Association was recently a recipient of a 2 toner boat from the DOLE which they intend to use for bringing their “payaws” to sea and for ecotourism purposes around the Lingayen gulf.
During the turn-over ceremony, a medical and dental mission was simultaneously held for the residents of the village by the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center together with nursing students of the Union Christian College. Free blood testing, medical check up and dental services were conducted.
The UPSURGE project in the City of San Fernando is proof that better housing is no longer a dream but a reality for the residents of the Fisherman’s Village who now no longer suffer from threats of powerful storms and waves battering their homes. The Local Government Unit experienced first hand that efficient & effective delivery of local housing needs is possible through the vision of the local chief executives, the concerted action of key departments, and support of other sectors.