Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Pocket of Urban Exclusion: Constructing Vulnerability and Well-Being among Scavengers in a Reclamation Area in Manila

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: McKinley, Mezzanine Level

In 2015, Baseco Compound was considered the country’s largest informal settlement with an estimated total of 60,000 undocumented residents most of whom live in shanties built on garbage with no access to potable water and toilet. As an estuary formed by the highly polluted Pasig River and Manila Bay, the 52-hectare reclamation area acts as a basin that is constantly swamped with garbage and other debris from Metro Manila. It is within this backdrop that this paper concerns well-being and its construction amidst structurally-imposed vulnerability to environmental hazards. In particular, it focuses on how the residents have been subjected to communicable diseases through environmental issues resulting from urban-centric development agenda and how issues like pollution and flooding, in turn, have been economized by the locals through scavenging to access formal healthcare. Based on a five-year ethnographic work, I depict three emerging themes with regard to environmental threats to health: (1) resiliency in the form of scavenging, (2) localized notion of well-being that focuses on food security and excluding other forms of health threats, and (3) exclusive growth as systemic form of socio-environmental subjugation of peripheral sectors. The paper concludes by critiquing the role of the government’s neoliberal agenda in creating environment-based health threats to its dispossessed citizens who are neither accorded formal health care access due to their informal settler status nor provided means to afford health security.

Maria Alejandria-Gonzalez

University of Santo Thomas, Philippines

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Send Email for Maria Alejandria-Gonzalez


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2 - Pocket of Urban Exclusion: Constructing Vulnerability and Well-Being among Scavengers in a Reclamation Area in Manila



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Send Email for Pocket of Urban Exclusion: Constructing Vulnerability and Well-Being among Scavengers in a Reclamation Area in Manila