[PHOTO AT LEFT - President Aquino inspects a model unit at the Southville 9 housing project in Baras, Rizal during a visit last Thursday.]

MANILA, OCTOBER 19, 2010 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - Some 2,800 families from Antipolo City and seven municipalities in Rizal who lost their homes to typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” last year now have a place they can call their own.

No less than President Aquino turned over the housing units to them in simple ceremonies held at the Southville 9 housing project in Baras, Rizal last Thursday afternoon.

The President led the distribution of housing certificates to an initial batch of 16 beneficiaries representing Antipolo City (217 families) and the seven towns covered by the housing project – Angono (98 families), Baras (123 families), Binangonan (331 families), Cainta (16 families), Cardona (25 families), Tanay (141 families), and Taytay (67 families).

The 16 beneficiaries were Esmeralda Sanceda and Joel Mendoza from Baras; Alfredo Mendoza, Judith Miles, Joseph Cabañez and Amalia Agad from Cardona; Francisco Sicosana and Jimlyn Alcantara from Tanay; Judith Lomongo and Ma. Lorna Nojan from Angono; Gina Padrigene and Rolando Salmona from Taytay; Armando Espiritu Jr. and Emmanuel Maniquiz from Antipolo; and Teresita Feo and Martin Recuerdo Jr. from Binangonan.

In his speech, President Aquino welcomed the new homeowners. “To all of you, welcome home. May God continue to bless your new homes as havens of safety and respite and may this be the start of your fruitful future for you and your families,” he said.

Joining the President were Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC); and Rizal officials led by Gov. Casimiro Ynares III, second district Rep. Isidro Rodriguez Jr., Baras Mayor Wilfredo Robles, and Vice Gov. Frisco San Juan Jr.

Situated in Barangay Pinugay, some 50 kilometers southeast of Manila, the Southville 9 housing project is a joint undertaking of the Rizal provincial government and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to develop a 25-hectare relocation site for Rizal residents who were displaced by “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” last year.

Through a memorandum of agreement signed last April, both parties agreed to construct 2,800 housing units at 40 square meters per lot.

Built at a cost of P175,000 per unit, the project will be amortized by the beneficiaries for a period of 30 years.

As of October, some 2,600 housing units had been constructed and 1,018 family-beneficiaries had been relocated. Full occupancy of the housing units is expected by the end of this year.

The President’s visit to the Southville 9 housing project came on the eve of the NHA’s 35th anniversary.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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