The Manila Times

Building homes one ‘piece ‘ at a time


TODAY, there are about four million Filipino families who do not have a house to call their own.

Sadly, despite our progress, the number of informal settlers continue to rise as the housing deficit worsens due to over population.

For this reason, concerned groups continue to forge partnershi­ps that try to provide Filipinos with decent and affordable homes.

Such was the initiative that the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and the Habitat for Humanity launched on November 7 at the 26th Street Bistro in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

In support of Habitat for Humanity’s four-year iBuild program, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf pledged to raise P5-million worth of donations from their customers. To donate, customers only need to purchase the iBuild Puzzle Pieces from all of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf stores nationwide. Prized at P100, the amount will immediatel­y be donated to iBuild fund.

According to Paolo del Rosario, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf vice president for marketing, the partnershi­p with Habitat for Humanity not only aims to raise P5 million over the next four years, but to also create awareness about the issue.

“Our goal is to share the Habitat for Humanity mission to our customer base. This way, they will not just donate P100, they will also volunteer to join the organizati­on and give more help to others,” del Rosario said.

For the campaign, local graphic artist Dan Matutina was commission­ed to create two artworks, The Door and Build, of which the iBuild Puzzle Pieces were made from. Upon purchase, Coffee Bean patrons can then stick their puzzle pieces on iBuild Puzzle Boards found at each store. Building the puzzle one piece at a time represents that everyone can do their part—big or small—in addressing poverty housing.

Basic need

In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, Habitat for Humanity Philippine­s Chief Executive Officer Charlie Ayco enforced that a house is basic human need that everyone must have.

“Today, housing is a reward for success, but the truth is, shelter is a basic human need,” Ayco began. “The common approach here is, we work hard earning a living and then we buy a house. But right now, even if you work hard, you can’t find a house that is within your means.”

Asked why this was the case, Ayco answered “mismatch of what people can afford to what the market is supplying.”

The Habitat for Humanity chief gave a simple analogy to explain this: “In the beginning, it is only the rich who can afford mobile phones. But because everyone started to need cell phones, the market adjusted to make it affordable to everybody. Unfortunat­ely this is not happening in the housing sector,” he stated.

He further stressed, “They are not adjusting simply because the business will not be profitable. The most affordable house is priced at P150,000 to P400,000. If they will sell a house at that they will not earn anything.

“So who will provide that service? This is where we, the government and nonprofit organizati­ons, come in,” Ayco added.

Private partners

On how important partnershi­p with the private sector is, Ayco said, “Partnershi­p with the private sector is very important because the government’s resources are limited. The private sector is where is the money and they give as financial assistance.”

“That is why we are happy with the partnershi­p with the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They are involving their customers in the iBuild program. And because Filipinos are naturally helpful, I am sure, we will not only get financial support but volunteers as well.”

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