Lawmaker backs govt’s tack to build 6M houses for poor


THE Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) will tie up not only with local government units (LGUs) but with private contractors and developers as well in building six million affordable shelters, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay F. Villafuerte is backing the move as a way to achieve the Marcos administration’s target to construct a million houses yearly to close the socialized housing backlog.

“Innovative partnerships with LGUs and also with private developers and contractors to meet the government-targeted one million homes yearly on the Marcos watch will enable the DHSUD to build 6 million affordable homes—and thereby close the housing backlog—by the time the President leaves office in 2028,” Villafuerte said.

“The national government certainly cannot hope to close the housing backlog under the Marcos presidency without the full support not only of LGUs but of private developers and contractors as well,” the lawmaker said.

The country’s backlog is projected at 6 million to 6.5 million housing units.

Villafuerte also expressed support to the President’s plan to build socialized housing projects on more vacant government lots as part of his administration’s pursuit of increased collaboration with LGUs and the private sector on closing the housing gap, under the “Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino” Housing (4PH) program.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had vowed to launch similar mass housing projects in the years ahead and to work continuously in finding idle government lands suitable for mass shelter projects for homeless Filipinos.

Marcos has voiced optimism his government could exceed its annual target of 1 million housing units with the provision of at least 1.2 million housing units under the flagship 4PH program.

For the President, one indicator of the increasing number of shelter availment is the rise in the number of new Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or the Pag-IBIG Fund) members and increased interest from the people in buying new homes.

According to Villafuerte, the Pag-IBIG Fund has ample resources to assist the DHSUD in implementing the 4PH program, considering that it has total assets of P827 billion.

Villafuerte said Housing Secretary Jose Rizalino L. Acuzar is correct in forging more partnership agreements with the private sector to guarantee the success of 4PH program.

He noted that Acuzar has been meeting with the various groups of real estate developers in order to promote the joint venture agreement (JVA) and public-private partnership (PPP) under the 4PH.

Acuzar himself has said that he had been meeting with the officers and members of, among others, the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP), National Real Estate Association Inc. (NREA) and Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (Creba).

Villafuerte agreed with Acuzar that private builders and contractors are “absolute multipliers” in the government drive to construct affordable and decent housing units for homeless Filipinos.

As the implementing agency of the 4PH, the DHSUD has been pushing partnerships with LGUs that have secured loans from government financial institutions (GFIs), with LGUs that have forged JVAs or PPPs with private developers and with private builders via turnkey projects.

Camarines Sur itself is building a trailblazing high-rise project in Naga City in tandem with DHSUD under the 4PH program, said Villafuerte.

The former governor noted that the 4PH housing project, once completed, will boast the tallest structure in Bicol at 25 storeys, or higher than the current tallest building in the region that is 20 storeys high.

Under this pioneering initiative, five residential towers with a total of 10,000 units will rise on a six-hectare land on Panganiban Drive in Naga City.

Four commercial buildings will also be built around the residential towers to let the would-be residents have access to basic facilities like schools, medical facilities and markets, said Villafuerte.

Villafuerte said the 4PH low-cost housing complex will provide homes to more than 10,000 families or over 50,000 people and will generate an estimated P6 billion to P8 billion worth of local economic activity and create thousands of jobs.