The labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said on Thursday that it would propose to the government the construction of affordable in-city tenement housing for minimum-waged earners near their working places, which would not only help decongest traffic but provide workers decent houses to live.
“In the light of growing inadequate mass transport problems and worsening traffic congestion, we shall also demand that Pag-IBIG expand its services and benefits to members by initiating development of an affordable in-city tenement housing for lowly-paid workers and develop housing projects for workers in the regions and the countryside, in the export processing zones, Overseas Foreign Workers, and government employees,” TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said.
The in-city housing program for workers will help working people and their families cope with rising cost of living in metropolis and minimize a range of stress-related disorders and diseases caused by travelling and commuting in a problematic mass transport system environment, Mendoza explained.
“We are not closing our doors to an increase in contributions in Pag-IBIG as we have yet to see the proposal from them. We shall wait for their presentations before we make the decision to support it or not,” the TUCP said.
Mendoza said that any increase should redound to lower home loan interest rates, higher maturity savings returns for members, increased efficiency in Pag-IBIG operations, greater accessibility to home loans particularly for minimum wage earners and low income workers.
Mendoza said they are looking at utilizing idle government-owned lands in the National Capital Region to build tenement housing units similar to tenement housing in Taguig and Tondo, Manila to reduce workers’ daily expenses in the face of their meager daily salary.
“We also acknowledge that the dividends that they have been giving out to members have improved in the past several years which is good for the workers and their families because their contributions is considered forced savings and Pag-IBIG should sustain this,” Mendoza said.
“We also understand from their last Chairman’s report that the number of home loan borrowers have increased substantially and it is important to ensure the sustainability of Pag-IBIG.”
The current contribution rate by each member contribution rate is pegged at P100 employee share plus P100 employer counterpart, or a total of P200 per month. By law, the contribution rate is set at 2% of a member’s salary, with a cap of P5,000 Maximum Fund Salary (MFS) of P5,000 per month. This was set way back in 1986. The present value of P200 then is now P12.75.
Contributions of members, including employer’s counterpart contributions are returned to Pag-IBIG members upon reaching membership maturity of 20 years. The average total savings of a member for 20 years is approximately P80,000.00. There are members who voluntarily increase their contributions.
Members are also able to borrow 80% of their total savings with the Fund under Pag-IBIG’s multi-purpose loan program.
Members are able to borrow from the Fund housing loans which they can use to purchase their own homes. The maximum housing loan a member can borrow is up to P6 Million depending on capacity to amortize the loan. They can use the loan to purchase a house and lot, construct a house, a condo unit, or house improvement.
Members are also entitled to Calamity Loans equivalent to 80% of their total savings with the Fund during times of natural disasters and declaration of state of calamities in their areas of residence.
Higher contribution rates will result to higher savings, higher MPL and Calamity loan entitlements and low housing loan interest rates.