Build­ing homes one ‘piece ‘ at a time

The Manila Times - - MAGAZINE - BY EUDEN VALDEZ STAFF WRITER

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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