Atty. Maria Rosalie Richa A. Taguian (Legal and VisMin Group Vice President ), Ma. Ana Oliveros (SHFC President ), Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. (Ateneo de Davao University President ), Datu Mussolini S. Lidasan (Al Qalam Institute Executive Director), and participants pose for photo during the Memorandum of Understanding signing between Ateneo de Davao University and SHFC last February 20. Photo by Aivy Rose Villarba.

The Ateneo de Davao University and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) have formalized its partnership to respond to the need of innovative and affordable housing solutions for the less fortunate Muslim communities.

Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ and SHFC President Ma. Ana Oliveros signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last February 20 to strengthen their commitment in the development of a culturally-sensitive housing model through joint research, capacity building activities, and trainings.

Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia Executive Director Mussolini Lidasan said that the entire Ateneo community is grateful with their partnership with SHFC.

“Ateneo is honored to be a part of the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC) and Ateneo de Zamboanga University project in promoting culturally sensitive and community-driven housing programs for the Muslims and other ethnic groups in Mindanao,” Lidasan stated in his weekly column.

He said it’s a great  opportunity to reach out to both Christians and Muslims who are in need of shelter solutions.

Ateneo de Davao University through its Al Qalam Institute has provided its expertise to SHFC and to its pilot community for a culturally-sensitive housing in Zamboanga in the past capacity building and training activities.

“The integration of a Sharia’h based mechanism in the whole project development brings us closer towards our goal to promote understanding and religious diversity,” he said.

Lidasan added that the partnership is another victory in upholding cultural diversity and promoting peace building in Mindanao.

On the other hand, Oliveros said that partnership with multiple stakeholders made it easier for the government to innovate its policies so that it can serve a lot of poor families.

Housing is a basic human right that’s why the government should address the problem of homelessness. We should develop inclusive housing finance so that we can cater to all sectors,” she said.

Oliveros added SHFC is also working with several local government units to develop approaches in responding to their housing issues.

SHFC has earlier forged partnerships with other educational institutions like Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Xavier University to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration in developing pro-poor housing policies.