Manila Bulletin – Government On Track Meeting Target

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat | Manila Bulletin

mb_onlineMANILA, Philippines — The government is on track in meeting its target to fill the 3.6 million unit housing backlog in partnership with the private sector by 2016.

Vice-president Jejomar C. Binay, who is also chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), told reporters at the sidelines of the 38th Philippine Business Conference at the Manila Hotel.

Binay said the participation of the private sector in this government effort at providing shelter to its constituents is of paramount importance. The housing sector accounts for 5 percent of the country’s total GDP and its contribution grows as the economy grows.

In a keynote speech at the PBC, Binay vowed good governance in making the vision of providing 3.6 million houses to Filipino families a tangible reality.

To attain this goal, he said that a nationwide collaboration with the stakeholders including the private sector players, local government units to implement proper zoning and land use is crucial. At present, Binay said the housing sector and the World Bank are formulating the National Informal Settlements Upgrading Strategy that will be used to create a comprehensive shelter plan for informal settler families.

He said the shelter plan will ensure that informal settler families will have access to basic social services such as schools, public markets, health care centers and livelihood opportunities at the resettlement areas.

Already, property developers support the recent passage of a bill in the Senate that aims to consolidate the functions of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) through the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) as a step towards providing sustainable housing for all Filipinos.

Senate Bill 3199 commissions the DHUD with both the policy-making functions of the HUDCC, as well as the regulatory functions of the present HLURB. According to Senate Committee on Local Government Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., key housing agencies such as the National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), shall then be attached to the proposed department for policy and program coordination, monitoring, and evaluation.

Upon enactment, the bill will task the DHUD to address the increasing demand for urban poor housing, regulate urban growth, and prevent deterioration of the environment by working with planners, builders, and community beneficiaries.

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