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Slums of Parola

Parola SlumsPlace: Manila, Philippines
Slums can be found in 256 communities, located in all the cities and municipalities of Metro Manila. They account for some 2.54 million men, women and children living in the most depressed areas of the country’s prime metropolis. These slum communities are located on vacant lands that are both private and government owned. Usually they are located along rivers and creeks, in garbage dumps, along railroad tracks, under bridges, and beside factories and other industrial establishments.

Although there are relatively large slum communities, the settlement pattern of the Metro Manila urban poor is generally dispersed, with houses located wherever there is space and opportunity. In terms of building materials used, slum housing can be broadly categorised as

a) temporary shelters made of salvaged materials
b) semi-permanent shelters
c) permanent shelters.

As of 2002, there were 99,549 depressed households in the City of Manila alone or 29.8% of the total households, which increased dramatically in the present.

Parola Basic Profile
Parola is one of the biggest slums in the Philippines with the area of 205,800 square meters. It is divided into two clusters known as Barangay 20, Zone2, District I in Tondo and Barangay 275, Zone 25, District III in Binondo, both in the City of Manila. Under Proclamation No.96 (03 September 2001) and Executive Order No.108 (04 June 2002), it was legally mandated that Parola should be given to the actual occupants (squatters). Currently, its population is estimated at about 57,246 people (of whom 11, 861 are men, 15,389 are women and 29,996 are children, according to National Statistics Office or NSO report).

Parola lacks the primary amenities that a community with large population should have. There is no Health Center, the streets and roads are very narrow, drainage system is poor, no garbage/waste disposal management and most importantly, water supply system and electrical facilities are incomplete. In fact, only around 25% of the households have electricity provided by the Manila Electric Company sub-meter cooperative and 40% have water supply. Most of the residents just buy clean water for PhP2.00 per container and use oil lamps and candles at night which is very prone to fire.

The privatisation and deregulation of North and South Harbour caused severe unemployment rate for the residents of Parola and nearby areas. Moreover, the situation became worse due to decreasing trades in Divisoria, one of the biggest trade centers in Manila where most of Parola residents work. As a result, people have to be inventive to survive. Common alternative sources of income is through being pedicab driver, helper, running a small kiosk (where products like sardines, rice, candy, shampoo and soap are being sold), laundry washer and garbage collector. Even peeling off garlic skin is a popular way of earning money. Since the vast majority of people in Parola earn no more that 3,500 Pesos (75USD) per month, many of them can no longer get by. As a result, the number of beggars as well as street crimes increased. Drug abuse also exists, the users sniff ‘solvents’ which apparently help them not to feel hunger.

Education in Parola
There is only one very small Day Care Center in Parola which can accommodate only 40 children per school year with the range of 4 to 6 years old. There is no elementary or high school due to lack of space and funding. With a total of around 29,996 children, only 50% of which (approximately 15,000 children) are able to go to public elementary and high schools in the surrounding neighbourhoods and the rest are already considered out of school youth.

To reach the schools, the students would need to walk or spend 20 pesos every day for the transportation alone. Allowance of at least 50 pesos per day is needed to be able to eat and buy school materials as they are not provided. Thus, not all of the enrolled students are able to go to school on a daily basis resulting to only 20% of them being able to finish elementary and high school because of financial problem. Those who stopped schooling are then forced to work in the wet market to carry heavy loads of vegetables and meats or collect garbage to be sold in junkshops just to earn small amount of money. Many of the children are being deprived of their right to learn and play as most of them start working at a very young age.

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Contact Details

Main House:
     2 Caledonia Ave

Postal Address:
     PO Box 530
     Joondalup WA 6919

Ph:  +61 8 9304 2907
Email: Click here

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