Sen. Bongbong Marcos: On the Need to Establish a National Housing Program for All Government Employees

The 1987 Constitution provides that, “the State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost, decent housing and basic services to under-privileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas. x x x.” (Article XIII, Section 9, 1987 Constitution)
True to the above mandate, numerous agencies, public and private, as well as the local government units, have been given imprimatur by the State to institute programs and construct facilities aimed at delivering to our citizens the most basic commodity of shelter.

However, credible and current statistics show that there still remains a heavy backlog in the housing sector, which now stands at an alarming 3.63 million housing units. (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council [HUDCC] Organizational Meeting, 19 January 2011)
While the housing need for all Filipino families is a constant priority, the government has to notice also the largest beneficiary group on whom all government depends: its loyal and hardworking–and equally needing–government employees, who render valuable services and without whom its machinery would be rendered paralyzed.

Because of the built-in facility of an administrative and transactional link and network between the State and its employees as result of their symbiotic relationship, the government can and must tap into such a facility by accessing its database, and readily reach out to them and implement an effective housing program specially for them. The government only has to lay down the policy and coordinate the efforts and the interconnections of the various key shelter agencies (KSAs) involved in addressing the housing need, including the local government units and also the private sector, all of which have their multifarious respective programs for housing financing.

It is for these reasons why we filed Senate Bill No. 2699. The goal of this bill is not only to create a national housing program specifically for government employees, but also to integrate into such program all existing individual housing loans of which government employees are the beneficiaries. This bill intends to establish a “one-stop shop” for the housing needs of government employees and integrate into one single program the various housing programs of these agencies and LGUs, including those of the particular mother units of employees (i.e., the Socialized Housing for Teachers and Employees [SHELTER Program] of the Department of Education) under one national office that shall administer the same.

In the process, the government will not only be able to address the housing backlog, but also find efficiencies to obviate the bureaucratic delays that normally accompany the implementation of a housing program. This is especially true for the very persons in its own employ, the government employees, with whom they are symbiotically linked in a contractual relationship of employment. Moreover, on the other side of the bargaining table, the parties participating in the Program, both public and private, shall also be assured of incentives and reasonable returns on their investments.
More importantly, in line with the pending initiative in the Senate to establish a single housing agency in the form of a Department of Housing and Urban Development, this effective and systemic coordination and interplay of functions and programs in the field of housing that is hoped for in this Program will become all the more logical and will no longer be a far-fetched possibility.

In the absence of a Department of Housing in our bureaucracy, this bill proposes the establishment of an Executive Committee to implement and administer the proposed national housing program for government employees. For now, it shall act under the administrative supervision of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). It is ultimately hoped that this Program would eventually be realigned into the ambit of the authority and jurisdiction of Department of Housing and Urban Development once the latter bill gets past the legislative mill.

This bill hopes to expand the coverage of the bills pending in the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlements, namely, Senate Bill No. 700 of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and Senate Bill No. 1203 of Sen. Manuel Villar, which propose to establish a national housing program for public school teachers.

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