When Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines in 2009, 40,000 people were living in informal settlements, or slums, along the Manggahan Floodway, an artificially constructed waterway built to mitigate flood risk. The typhoon dumped one month’s worth of rain in the Manila metro area in fewer than 24 hours. Lives, property and possessions were lost.
After the devastation, the Philippine government decided to relocate those living in informal settlements out of the floodway ‒ some to locations as far as 60 miles away from Manila, which meant leaving family, jobs and schools behind. Authorities threatened to demolish homes if people did not evacuate.
The Alliance of Peoples’ Organizations Along Manggahan Floodway (APOAMF) formed in response. Led by people living in floodway-adjacent informal settlements, the group fought for the rights of families to housing and land, and to remain in their city.
“We believe in order to be a resilient community, the people should have the capacity to organize with government stakeholders,” said Bryan Carlo R. Teodosio, an organizer with the Community Organizers Multiversity, an NGO that partnered with APOAMF. “They need to be consulted at all levels.”
In 2010, APOAMF launched the People’s Plan, a community-based, participatory process to develop a housing alternative to eviction. The plan allowed Manggahan residents to plan a new apartment complex, not far from their original community.