Text and photos by Alexis Corpuz Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT WILL take her a few more years, but Teresita Domingo, 70, one of the beneficiaries of an urban poor housing program of the Quezon City government, is happy that her dream of owning a house is within reach.

Domingo, a laundrywoman for 25 years, used to live as an informal settler along La Mesa Dam. After their house was demolished in 1977, she and her family were forced to move to a relocation site in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan province.

Living in this new area proved to be difficult for Domingo and her family, especially when her husband, a construction worker, figured in a work-related accident that left him blind. The distance of their new house and her husband’s injury made traveling for work difficult for Domingo.

When given a chance to purchase a plot of land in Fairview, Quezon City, she jumped at it.

The opportunity came about when the city government, through an urban poor housing program, subdivided and sold a piece of public land to farmers tending it. One of the farmers was Domingo’s brother-in-law, who signed over his part of the land to her in 1995.

Complications arose when the ownership of the land was put into question, a situation that was further compounded with the death of Domingo’s husband. After a legal battle that was won by the city government, Domingo and the other beneficiaries were finally allowed to purchase and build on the land.

Under the housing program, Domingo has to pay the city government P800 a month for 20 years. But with her meager salary, Domingo says, she has fallen behind in her monthly payments. She is, however, grateful that the city government is lenient when it comes to collecting payments.

When asked how she feels now that she finally owns a house and lot, Domingo beams with pride, saying she is happy and secure in the knowledge that she and her family finally have a home to call their own.

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