The BALAI program which stands for Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable and Inclusive Filipino Communities Program (BALAI) housing project is a collaboration of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development (DHSUD).
During the ceremonial launching in Brgy Caruyungan Sur in Umingan town on Tuesday, Secretary John Castriciones of DAR said the initial number of chosen beneficiaries based on the set standard prescribed by the law is 184 but may soon expand to 500.
“Kahit panahon ng pandemya, nais na iparamdam ng gobyerno ang tulong at bigyan ng kaukulang suporta ang mga magsasaka, at isa rito ay ang programa ng BALAI housing program,” Sec. Castriciones said.
“Maraming tao ang nawalan ng trabaho at maraming hanapbuhay ang nawalan ng silbi. Marami ang naghihirap. pero meron tayong isang uri ng manggagawa na kahit anuman ang sitwasyon, sila ay makakakain sapagkat may lupa na tataniman at sila ang bumubuhay sa mga tao dahil sa kanilang pordkuto, sila ang mga bayaning magsasaka,” the Secretary added.
DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said the new department vowed not to construct substandard housing units and this will be strictly monitored by his office and partner developer from Bella Vita of Ayala Land, Inc. which allocated P80-million for the land development of the area.
Del Rosario said each housing unit will have two bedrooms, one toilet complete with electrical and water facilities, as well as tiled floorings and fully painted interior and exterior walls. The houses will be made of pure concrete thus are earthquake-proof, he added.
“We are building not just houses but a community, where there is water, concrete roads, and near the livelihood of the farmers,” Sec. Del Rosario said.
The 2.6 hectares of land where the housing program will rise was provided by the local government unit of Umingan through the donation of Mayor Michael Carleone Cruz. It features the view of the Caraballo mountains.
“The houses will serve as a tangible symbol of persistence and pure concern on the part of entities to continuously upgrade the status of our farmer-beneficiaries because they are, afterall, the backbone of the nation with their produce,” Mayor Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, in his video message during the ceremony, expressed his gratitude to farmers in Pangasinan and said the housing program reflects the Duterte administration’s commitment to promote the equitable distribution of wealth and provide equal opportunities for development to achieve a comfortable life for all Filipinos.
“Tayo ay nag-iisang lipunan lamang. Ang pag-unlad ng pamumuhay ng mga pinakamahirap sa atin ay magdadala rin ng kaunlaran sa ating kanya-kanyang pamumuhay kaya mag-tulungan at mag-bayanihan po tayo para sa ikatatagumpay ng inisyatibong ito.
Sen. Go also sent family food packs and bicycles for the farmers during the launch. (JCR/VHS/PIA Pangasinan)
By Venus May H. Sarmiento