QUEZON City, Feb. 10, 2014—As part of its mission to reach out to the country’s homeless, the Archdiocese of Manila led by Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle turned over P10,462,325 in check to the Domus Mariae Foundation, Inc., the archdiocese’s social housing arm, from proceeds of a benefit concert it held in 2013, in a simple ceremony at the Jesuit Communications (JesCom) office, Ateneo de Manila University on February 7.
The “Patron of the Arts: An Evening with the Cardinal”, a tradition the Manila Archdiocese started in 2012 with JesCom, gathers together in a concert the best names in the Philippine music scene.
The concert showcases the performers’ talent while helping the Archdiocese raise funds for a deserving beneficiary.
It also continues the Church’s long history of active involvement in arts patronage by recognizing gifted individuals who have done much to enrich Philippine cultural life.
In 2012 the Patron of the Arts posthumously awarded director Marilou Diaz-Abaya for her outstanding legacy in the local film industry.
In 2013 it cited Napoleon Abueva for his contributions in Philippine sculpture.
Tagle told the CBCP News that the Church has always embraced and promoted the arts.
“Our faith has always been proclaimed in glorious works of art, whether it is music, literature, architecture, or sculpture. Christian art therefore has become not just an aesthetic experience, but a spiritual experience as well. Not just a feast for the senses, but for the soul as well,” the cardinal explained.
Proceeds from the first Patron of the Arts went into the renovation of the Manila Cathedral-Basilica whose structural integrity had weakened with age.
The Archdiocese of Manila has chosen Domus Mariae (House of Mary) as its recent beneficiary.
This decision responds to the need of the Archdiocese’s disadvantaged staff for decent houses as many of them have none yet to call their own.
“We cannot overemphasize the need to address this urgent concern for urban housing, especially in the light of many who continue to be displaced by natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Millions of Filipinos have no roof above their heads, or a shelter to protect them from the elements. Some lived in depraved conditions not worthy of the dignity of God’s children,” Tagle told the CBCP News.
Founded in February 1983 by then Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, Domus Mariae was envisioned to provide low-cost housing for the poor.
Its mission is to help and promote shelter to the homeless and landless families in the slums of Metro Manila, which is a major concern for Church and State.
Recognizing the right of everyone to decent shelter, the Church has joined the government in addressing the country’s urban housing problem.
It is in this spirit that the Domus Mariae was incorporated as a non-stock, non-profit organization in February 24, 1983 to provide socialized housing for needy families.
The foundation’s main objective is to help the urban poor have suitable inexpensive dwelling either on site or in relocation sites that they may live as befits their dignity as human beings.
Domus Mariae’s first project is the Saarland Village I in Barrio Cupang, Antipolo City, a one-hectare land donated by the Orosa family, which was developed in 1983 for 110 landless/homeless families from San Andres Bukid, Manila.
It occupies a 10,000 square meter lot subdivided into 110 lots of 50 square meters.
The basic core house is 20.72 square meters with room for expansion, and is individually equipped with toilet and bath facilities.
The development of the site also consisted of water and electricity supplies, roads, and drainage.
Each unit costs P21,000 on the average, allowing the beneficiaries to avail of the Pagibig housing loan they paid in P230 to P250 monthly amortizations for 20 years. The project cost P2,317,700.00.
Saarland Village I was followed by Saarland Village II Phase I, also in Antipolo, which was completed in 1986; Caritas Village, Novaliches (1988) whose 34 unit row-houses were awarded to 17 Caritas Manila and Domus Mariae employees, and 17 Vietnamese immigrants sponsored by Center for Assistance To Displaced Persons.
Saarland Village II Phase II (1991) benefited mostly Archdiocesan employees and squatter families from San Andres Bukid, Sta. Ana, and Pandacan, Manila.
Also in 1991, the foundation entered into a joint-venture agreement with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to develop Domus Mariae Condominium I, consisting of 2 condominium building of 88 units each located behind the Holy Family Parish in San Andres Bukid.
Its beneficiaries were mostly members of the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng San Andres Bukid organized by Msgr. Melchor David.
Other Domus Mariae projects are the Taguig Relocation Center (1993) in Tipas; the Domus Mariae Condominium III (1995) also beside the Holy Family Parish in San Andres Bukid; the 74 unit five-storey medium-rise Domus Mariae Condominium III (2007) built on the 580 square meter piece of land owned by the Archdiocese of Manila in Ducepec St., Paco, Manila; the Calauan Laguna Relocation Center (2010); Northville in Marilao, Bulacan; the Handicapped Center within the Caritas Compound; and the paving and concreting of the Caritas Manila Segunda Mana Bodega.
In 1998, the foundation lent P3.9 M to the Payatas Scavengers Homeowners Association used by to buy a 3 hectare piece of land in Rodriguez, Rizal for the relocation of more than 300 families from the Payatas dumpsite.
Domus Mariae’s new housing project is the 4,000 square meter Domus Mariae Village II, in Brgy. Muzon, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, costing P31 M.
Each 50 square meter unit costs P620,000, and is payable through Pagibig Housing loan for a 25-year amortization period.
Because of what it has accomplished for the poor, Tagle called Domus Mariae “the Archdiocese’s little contribution towards helping the least of our brothers and sisters”. (Raymond A. Sebastián)