“VP Leni Robredo bared that for this administration to resolve the housing crisis, at least 2,600 homes would have to be built every day over the next six years.”
It’s probably on the agenda of every president.
But the concerns about socialized housing continue to loom year after year, with the backlog swelling to 5.7 million units this year. It thus puts to question as to how far the country has gone in resolving an issue as significant and massive as mass housing.
A quick look around the metro alone offers a glaring answer: the large number of informal settlers and individuals who make do with pavements as their beds and aptly call the streets their home point to the harsh reality that much more needs to be done.
And the country’s rising population offers no respite for government authorities and state agencies, as this puts even a bigger pressure on the demand for socialized housing units.
During the Housing Solutions Congress held in August this year, Vice President and housing czar Leni Robredo bared that for this administration to resolve the housing crisis, at least 2,600 homes would have to be built every day over the next six years.
Both industry stakeholders and government officials were also in agreement that the continued growth of the population, low incomes and the prohibitive costs of owning a home, scarcity of suitable land, and the general unattractiveness of engaging in the business of socialized housing have been among the major roadblocks that have continued to hamper the capabilities of both the private and public sectors in addressing this backlog.
At the congress organized by European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), Robredo committed that they would make it easier for beneficiaries of public housing to process their papers.
The goal was to have a one-stop shop wherein the public would need to go to only one place, and that much of the paperwork would be done by the shelter agencies themselves.
Robredo however noted that the measure of each project would have to be determined by “how many families are happily living in their own homes and how many communities have been provided with a better way of life.”
ECCP president Guenter Taus, for his part, lauded the pronouncements of Robredo, who has sought to create a more comprehensive roadmap; to conduct an inventory of government property that can be converted into mass housing; streamline processes on both the supply and demand side; and provide tax breaks to make socialized housing a more attractive venture for local property developers.
“(These) will and should improve the situation… Speeding up the processes involved and the creation of a one stop shop are what we need to expedite things. We need to build over 2,600 homes every day and if you don’t do this quickly, we will never get this finished,” Taus said.
Taus, however, admitted that the new administration’s target to address the housing backlog was “ambitious” but on the right track.
Meanwhile, the country’s largest real estate and housing group recently urged the Duterte administration to create a separate department to address the housing crisis.
According to the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (Creba), the creation of a Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) would be able to wipe out the massive socialized housing backlog.
“The backlog couldn’t have risen to this level had Creba’s long-proposed DHUD bill been enacted into law. Only a full-fledged department can consolidate government efforts to attain our national housing goals with a Housing Secretary clothed with ample powers, functions and corresponding administrative accountabilities implementing a clear and sustainable housing vision,” Creba national president Charlie A.V. Gorayeb explained.
“The DHUD bill has been pending in Congress for more than two decades. Yet, the Constitution underscores the importance of housing and urban development as a basic human need and as a means to improve the life of the people,” Gorayeb added.