Juggling responsibilities as a mother, wife, and an officer of an organization can be very taxing. The many varied social expectations coming from all directions can take its toll. But Ningning Salcedo, an OFW’s wife who is single-handedly raising two daughters, is able to manage them all.

Along with 167 other families, Ningning used to live in a community in the highlands of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, without land title, access to water, and electricity. Moreover, the lack of decent road networks made it difficult for them to move around. “Talagang sa una, napakahirap kasi ang darning kulang. Bundok kasi siya at bukirin. Hindi mo iisipin na dito ka titira,” she explained as she looked back at their previous situation.

In 2005, the residents decided to come together and formed the Partida Heights Homeowners Association in order to collec­tively address their communal problems. To achieve their dream of creating a secure and habitable community, they decided to join the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). Although it was a step in the right direction, their journey together as a community was not without bumps along the way.

In the early stages of the community’s application to the CMP, some members raised doubts about the authenticity of the program because its affordable rates were too good to be true. “Siyempre sa mura ng hulog akala po nila talagang baka daw fake,” Ningning said. Fortunately, the members would come around from their distrust and place their confidence in their officers, especially in Ningning whom they elected as treasurer. “Siguro meron silang naging tiwala sa akin na hinuhulog ko nang tama ang ibinabayad nila sa monthly amortization,” she explained.

In 2012, the determination of Ningning and her community led to their being awarded one of the outstanding community associations of SHFC with a collection efficiency rating of 93.96 percent. “Kahit na maraming issues dati, dahil sa pagtutok at pag-obliga natin bi fang treasurer sa mga miyembro, nagawa naming mapanalunan ang award,” she said. So far, 26 titles have been awarded to Partida Heights, including Ningning’s. “Ngayon, na talagang hawak na namin ‘yung titulo, napatunayan po natin na totoo ta lag a siya,” she said, feeling proud that she has helped transform the community.

On top of her responsibilities in the community, Ningning is busy with her never-ending parenting duties. ”Ang panganay ko po ay first-year college tapos ‘yung bun so ko po naman ay Grade 8,” she shared. “Kaya din naman po natin araw-araw sinisipagan dahil rin po sa kanila.”

The story of Ningning and Partida Heights is proof that despite hardships, obtaining security of tenure by owning a piece of land is possible. Through the CMP, the members were able to settle in a community where they felt most at home. Tenurial security enabled Ningning and her community to gain access to basic facilities that are scarce in informal settlements.
Nowadays, it is the little things that make Ningning happy. Coming home to her family, washing her hands with clean running water, and turning the lights on. While these sound commonplace to most people, Ningning takes none of these for granted because her community worked hard to get them. “Nakakataba po talaga ng puso,” she said, knowing that they have come a long way

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