CPE believes in a rights-based approach to development. It promotes and upholds the political, economic, and socio-cultural rights of the marginalized sectors in the urban areas as basis of holistic and transformative development of the communities.
Political Rights. For CPE, empowerment means that those who participate in processes make the decision. Power emanates from the poor who constitute the majority of the population. Unfortunately, this power is not directly used by the poor. Instead this potential is being exploited by politicians during elections by utilizing the poor as ward leaders of traditional politicians.
CPE assists people’s organizations in effectively participating in governance through local special bodies, local development councils and through political and electoral reforms. CPE aims to challenge the elite dominated patronage system of election and politics in the country by putting representatives of the marginalized sectors in the different bodies of political decision-making body of the state.It is now the time for the poor’s voice to be heard and be represented in the political structures of the society.
Socio-Cultural Rights. In partnership with urban poor organizations and their networks or federations, CPE actively pursues its campaign for the poor’s rights to adequate housing, decent jobs and delivery of basic services.
CPE assists as secretariat to Bantay Riles Network (Railways Watch), a network of organizations along the Northrail and Southrail areas. The Northrail and Southrail projects are the governments railways rehabilitation program that affects more than 90,000 families. In collaboration with progressive legislators, policy reforms were instituted in the process of eviction and relocation of affected families. CPE and BRN ensures that the right to adequate housing, as stated in the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN-CESCR) is observed, specifically in eviction and relocation through organizing, networking, awareness building, capacity building, campaigns, lobby work and dialogue with the different government agencies, and legislative advocacy.
CPE also assists in the formation of a regional and national network of urban poor groups which aims to address the economic , political and socio-cultural issues of the poor by directly engaging in politics and governance, and national and local advocacies.
The Center is also active in participating in the initiatives for right to water. It took part as partner of the IPD in its project in Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan in its study on waterless communities and crafting a community based agenda for the delivery of water services in 2006.
Aside from housing and basic services, one of the more pressing problem among the urban poor communities, especially in the different relocation areas, is how to augment their meager income. Around 70% the workforce in the slums areas and relocation areas are jobless. To make ends meet, the women resort to augment family income by becoming itenerant vendors, laundrywomen. The males are usually factory workers who earn only around $3-$5 a day. Others do not have regular jobs and work only seasonally. Like in the case of families who were evicted along the railways in Bulacan. Most of the males are dependent in working in rice mills.
Aside from having small income or no fixed income, the families in urban poor communities face high cost of living. They cannot afford the high prices of basic commodities and services.
To address this problem, CPE seeks potential partners who may assist the communities in developing their capacities in forming and strengthening cooperatives. Through strong cooperatives, the communities will have the capacity to initiate livelihood projects that will augment their income, provide cheaper commodities. Community enterprise that could at the same time promote environmental protection may also be potentially initiated in various relocation areas.