Sen. Marcos Proposes the Creation of Department of Housing

SEN. FERDINAND “BONGBONG” R. MARCOS JR. has announced aproposal for the creation of a Department of Housing to address the acute housing shortage problem and to consolidate the efforts of all housing related agencies in the country.

“There are just too many government agencies catering to housing that do not have clear cut solutions and cannot put their acts together. That is why, one of my major advocacies as chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlements, is that there should be a very strong department that would integrate all housing related agencies under one-roof,” said Marcos in a key note address delivered at the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (REBAP)’s 32nd Annual Convention at Mimosa Leisure Park, Clark Air Base, Pampanga last Saturday.

“The existing function 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 the Department of Housing at the soonest possible time.”

Marcos said that 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. He informed the officers and members of REBAP, composed of architects, engineers and brokers,that with the continuing rapid growth in population, the demand for housing continues to rise. From 2001-2004, housing need was estimated at about 3.6 million units which he called “staggering.”Against the above estimated housing need for the years 2001-2004, actual supply for the period was only about 0.82 milion.

Marcos pointed out that the acute demand for housing, especially at the lower end of the market, has been analyzed to be rooted in three major factors:“One, is the inability of many poor households to pay for the cost of housing, even the so-called “low cost housing”; second, is the lack of resources on the part of government, which traditionally has been the major provider of housing for the poor; and thirdly, the lack of incentives for the private sector to engage in supplying this segment of the housing market,” said Marcos, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Local Governments.

Marcos believes that the local governments can pro-actively participate and assist the national government in solving these problems.“In my experience as former vice governor and governor of my home province of Ilocos Norte, I noticed some promising developments in this direction. One example is the newly created Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), mandated to look into a localized Community Mortgage Program (CMP) which gives local governments stronger capability in responding to their constituent’s demand for housing and land acquisition loans,” Marcos revealed.

Marcos also said that the efforts at the national level often do not meet the needs and preferences of the targeted poor, and therefore the role of local governments cannot be overemphasized Marcos challenged the participants in the convention to help bring the situation in the housing industry to the attention of all concerned and make housing , especially socialized housing, part of the centerpiece of the present government’s reform agenda.

In conclusion, the Senator stated that “we must continue in getting the attention of policy makers to face up to the challenges we have before us. Let us work together so that we can, in this way, make the life of our countrymen better, especially the lower income segment of our communities.”

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