PROS Architects and Planners

Philippine Refugee Processing Center

Project Title & Location
Morong, Bataan, Philippines


Manila, Philippines

Project Completion


Associated Firms

Design Management and Development Corporation
Melanio Lava, Sanitary Engineer

Services Provided
- Architectural programming
- Site analysis
- Conceptual Development Planning
- Civil Works Engineering Design
- Archtectural and Engineering Design Services
- Development Planning
- Construction Supervision

The Philippine Refugee Processing Center is located in Sabang, Municipality of Morong, some seven kilometers from the poblacion. The project comprises 300 hectares of gently rolling terrain.

The project started in July 1979 when the Philippine Government offered to the United Nations any site in the country for the temporary accommodation of Indo-Chinese refugees before they are shipped to their country of final destination. The Refugee Processing Center was developed in phases but with possibilities to accommodate up to 50,000 people at any one time. The initial phase of development consisted of housing for 10,000 as well as all necessary community and administrative facilities for the whole center. The planning approach adopted for the project viewed the refugees not as a throng of non-persons but as individuals with distinctive moods, traditions, rights and aspirations. The place was not designed as a detention center, but as a community of interacting individuals.

The physical set-up was made to reflect the Refugee Processing Center organization that is managed by seconded personnel from the Philippine Government. This required the clustering of refugees' accommodations in order to develop unity in some recognizable form. The consequence of the physical arrangement was a hierarchy of activity spaces and facilities that were systematically dispersed over the site and dependent upon functions, user requirements and administrative set-ups.

The project has been cited by several international organizations as a model refugee camp.