DAGUPAN CITY – More than 40 families belonging to the Pantal Norte Urban Poor Alliance, Inc. are now one step closer to finally acquiring the land they had occupied for more than 50 years.

This, after the city represented by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG represented by Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy Moti signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of a housing loan program.

Both parties signed the MOU during a simple ceremony held at the city museum on May 29.

The agreement sealed the partnership of both parties to pursue government programs and provide the necessary support and assistance to develop and implement the housing program for its beneficiaries.

Under the MOU, Pag-IBIG will extend individual housing loans to qualified beneficiaries, provide housing loan counseling and assist the city government in coordinating with other key shelter agencies for the successful implementation of the housing project.

Meanwhile, the city will identify the land that can be used as housing project as well as the qualified beneficiaries. The city will also promote to the beneficiaries the housing loan programs of Pag-IBIG Fund, as well as assist in their application for housing loans.

The city will also enter into a Collection Servicing Agreement with Pag-IBIG Fund for the collection of the monthly amortization and payment of loans.

The joint initiative was the city government’s response to the concerns raised by members of the urban poor who want to stake their claim on the land foreclosed by the Philippine Veterans Bank.

Susan P. De Vera, mortgage loan specialist of Pag-IBIG Fund Dagupan, disclosed that it was Mayor Fernandez’s initiatives that led to the ready assistance of their agency.

“Mayor Fernandez reached out to our president (Moti) on how to assist the urban poor. Sumagot agad ang Pag-IBIG and we immediately met with both the mayor and the beneficiaries. It was also through her initiatives that the land was purchased by the city government,” added De Vera.

With the purchased land, the informal settlers will now be able to register with Pag-IBIG to avail of loans that will cover the payment of their land.

Their loan will be based on the corresponding lot sizes where their houses are built within the property.

According to Pag-IBIG, the housing loan program is now at its final stage, with the land ownership likely to be transferred to the residents within the year once all the requirements have been approved.

The first of its kind in the entire province, the project will include a subdivision plan assigning residents with corresponding lot numbers.

Present during the signing were City Administrator Atty. Farah Decano, City Legal Officer Atty. Geraldine Francisco, City Assessor Engr. Roland Suni, representatives from Pag-IBIG as well as members of the Pantal Norte Urban Poor Alliance, Inc. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)