In contrast to day 1, the second day of our Community Organising and Development certificate course was filled with action. Our speaker was Hubert Zanoria, department chairman of the Southwestern University Social Work department. His topic was on Social issues.
He divided the class into 4 groups. Then he asked each to read a news paper clipping and have it discussed among the groups as to what is the social impact of current events in communities. A representative from each group gave a summary of what the group had discussed. Issues ranged from the China – Philippines territorial dispute, news clipping on poverty and the revamp that is happening at the National Food authority. Afterwards he then summarized each issue and emphasized the impact of these issues to the affected communities. The conclusion of this exercise he said that while these maybe macro issues, as community workers we have to think of the impact that these events may have on the community.
Afterwards he showed us a film on Campo 7, which is an upland community in the Talisay-Minglanilla area. The documentary explored the environmental, economic, tourist and community activities and needs of the area. The short documentary gave us an insight on what it is like to work in a certain community.
During lunch break I stayed for a while and watched the film on neglected indigenous people who have migrated to Cebu province, these are the Badjao and the Ati.
In the afternoon, retaining the same groupings, we were given areas wherein we should do a rapid assessment by doing an ocular survey and quick interview of people in the surrounding areas nearby the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) campus such as the TESDA area, I.T Park, the area leading to Marco Polo and the area nearby Sudlon. Our group was given the area right across J.Y Square immediately next to Hotel Aderan.
As I have experience in ethnography, I gave tips and instructions to my group mates. Most of them do not have experience in doing formal community work. As we drove to the place we noticed the developments of subdivisions and buildings in the area while the place near Aderan Hotel had pockets of small make shift houses. We walked around the area for a while and then went inside a small road leading upwards to a row of houses. The road leading up was so small that only people can pass through. I found a sari-sari store and pretended to buy and then proceed to have a conversation with the seller of the store named “Manag Clara”.
Manang Clara says they have been living there since the 1970s. She says says her house and that of her neighbor sits on government land. Several attempts have already been made to eject them from the property but so far they are still living there. There were also instances wherein they were offered that they will just pay for the property. But that did not push through either. (You could say that the status of their living in the land is sort of in a limbo)
Since there are a lot of building construction going on in the area and several business offices have also made their presence there, some of their neighbors have resorted to renting out rooms to these workers.
Manang Clara’s husband worked as a factory worker at Mandaue before but he has now retired and mostly stays at home. They have lots of children but all of them are already married. Some of their children are living in the area also and a son in law works at Bo’s Coffee shop at the nearby I.T Park.
Manang Clara says that she has not experienced working in a company but that she mostly sells assorted goods. Aside from running her Sari-Sari store, she has a store in the nearby Lahug market. However recently they have encountered problems there as the market was converted into a two storey building and the sellers in the 1st floor are selling the same items as that in the second floor. Since her store is located in the second floor, only a few customers go up the 2nd floor. This situation has affected her day to day income.
After the quick interview, we pondered on the things that we have learned about the impact of development in the area in the lives of the people living there. On the positive side it promoted economic activities from boarding house and room rentals, providing jobs for the people living in the area and more business in the market place. On the negative side it increased the population of the area and further congested the place. The role of Social work is to improve the quality of life and well being of individuals, groups and communities and in this case in order to fulfill such role, government should make an intervention with regards to their land and the situation in the marketplace.
Afterwards we went back to U.S.P.F. Since we ran out of time, Sir Zanoria asked us to submit our report as a group and in return he will email us handouts of his discussion.