By Mario B. Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate urban, housing, and resettlement committee pushed on Thursday for the creation of a Department of Housing to address the current acute housing shortage problem and consolidate the efforts of all housing-related agencies under one roof in the country.
‘’There are just too many government agencies catering to housing that do not have clear-cut solutions and cannot put their act together,’’ Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., Housing Committee Chairman, said.
The call for the creation of a Department of Housing was emphasized by Marcos in his speech at the 32nd annual convention of the Real Estate Brokers’ Association of the Philippines (REBAP) at Mimosa Leisure Park, Clark, Pampanga.
The housing committee of Marcos and the Senate banks committee, chaired by Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, conducted on Thursday their second joint hearing into the alleged fraudulent housing loan applications amounting to P7 billion, obtained by the Globe Asiatique Holdings Corp. from the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pagi-IBIG Fund) designed to “institute remedial measures to protect the rights and interests of Pag-IBIG members.’’
Marcos said the existing functions of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) should be considered as a transition agency that would prepare or metamorphose into a single “super housing’’ agency, paving the way for the creation of a Department of Housing at the soonest possible time.
He said there are great challenges and opportunities in improving the housing industry in the Philippines, the reality being a huge gap between supply and demand of affordable housing for the great majority.
Marcos told the REBAP, composed of architects, engineers, and brokers, that with the continuing rapid growth in population, the demand for housing is expected to rise.
“From 2001 to 2004, housing need was estimated at a staggering 3.6 million units. Against the estimated housing need for the years 2001-2004, actual supply for the period was only 820,000,’’ he said.
Marcos pointed out that the acute demand for housing, particularly at the lower end of the market, has been analyzed to be rooted in three major factors.