Payatas Urban Poor Development


ParticipantsThree Vincentian priests

Three Daughters of Charity Society of St. Vincent de Paul

(Payatas Conference)

PlacePayatas B, Quezon City, Metro Manila,


Social contextManila became a metropolitan area in 1975 when it merged with 13 suburban towns and three other cities. Among these three cities, Pasay, Kalookan and Quezon, it is the latter which is considered the largest, as it covers about ΒΌ of the entire metropolis, with approximately two million of the country's 69 million inhabitants.

Part of the area of Quezon City is Payatas, which is situated on the North with an area of 3,019 hectares and a population of 290,700 (1993). The population continues to accelerate at an annual growth rate of 15% owing to the fact of continuous rapid urbanization of people in search of greener pastures in the cities. A predominant number of these people have migrated from their calamity-stricken provinces where there are armed conflicts. Rural poverty due to lack of access to basic social services, as well as a high rate of unemployment has also given rise to migration to the cities.

The Barangay Payatas is further subdivided into A and B. About 20% of the population of Payatas lives in a fully developed area of 703 hectares, while the remaining 80% occupy an area of 172 hectares. The area has become the subject of great controversy because it has been converted to a gathering place for those migrating to the city, and has taken on the appearance of a squatter colony. In addition, Payatas B has a 15-hectare open pit dumpsite. This dump is located at the heart of the barangay and, despite high risks to health and life, provides livelihood opportunities for most of the residents.

Target groupThere are an estimated 7,000 families now living in this fast growing squatter colony. Approximately 4,000 of those families rely on the dump for their daily sustenance. Oppressive poverty, lack of skills and education make it difficult, if not impossible to qualify for jobs. Because of this, scavenging, however haphazard and undignified it may be, has become an occupation of last resort.

The scavengers are an important part of the workforce. They not only supply the recycling businesses with doorstep-delivery of cheap recyclable goods, but they contribute to the Philippine economy, which is highly dependent on expensive imports, by offering another source of raw materials which can be used in production.

Despite their work and the contribution they make to the common good, the scavengers remain the poorest and lowliest members of society. They are undercompensated; they receive no social benefits, and are stigmatized as parasites of the dumpsite.

Goals/Objectives Goal: to establish integrated community basedSocial Development Programs built on equality, cooperation, mutual respect, and solidarity in urban slum communities

Objectives: To establish organizations among the

lowest 20% of the Payatas urban poor. The organizations will focus on harnessing the people's learning, knowledge, and skills to help them actively participate and lobby for issues and policies that directly affect them.

To mobilize social forces and resources within and outside the Payatas urban community to access basic social services.

To strengthen mechanisms and structures within poor urban communities to promote access to services, communication, self-reliance and sustainability.

Activitiescommunity mobilization for care and rehabilitation(handicapped children, PTB patients, working children, the elderly) community health or primary health care people's organization building scavengers' development program, promotion of self-help groups through savings and credit association and micro-enterprise development, sectoral advocacy and capability building for women and elderly persons

PersonnelThe project fosters volunteer help in the local communities, relying on the good will and commitment of community members who have training as well as access to support services. The project also works with professional and technical experts who volunteer their services to the programs in Payatas.

Management committeeVincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation (VMSDFI)

ProblemsThere are several concomitant problems, however the most urgent are the instability of land ownership, inadequate housing, lack of access to basic social services, particularly health, education, etc.

Follow-upThough there may be other efforts and strategies for social development, our focus is on building and strengthening people's organizations (PO's), with the view of formation of self-help groups.

FinancingFunding Partners Country


Kinder Not HilfeGermany

Committee of Germany

German Doctors Manos UnidasSpain

Stichting KinderpostzegelsHolland

Liliane FondsHolland

Caritas, NetherlandsHolland

Missione Bethlemme ImmenseSwitzerland

Copyright 2009 Congregation of the Mission