[email protected]: Tahanang sapat para sa lahat
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is highlighting the inclusivity of the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) Program as it celebrates its 4th anniversary.
With the theme, “Tahanang sapat para sa lahat”, this year’s celebration highlights the goal of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s 4PH Program and the innovative efforts of the Department in making this happen. All of DHSUD has been working double-time to confront the country’s housing need head on.
With self-made businessman Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar at the helm, DHSUD has been leading the ‘Pambansang Pabahay’ to finally address the 6.5 million housing need of the country, bringing in bold and innovative strategies as the President’s flagship housing program.
In barely seven months, the program has elicited positive responses and secured the overwhelming support of relevant stakeholders which resulted in its fast rollout immediately after its launching. The President himself has expressed his full confidence on the Pambansang Pabahay, dubbing it as the solution to the country’s housing problem, if the goal to build one million housing units per year is achieved.
On January 31, President Marcos publicly calls on Congress to include the needed housing interest support in the General Appropriations budget for the succeeding years as part of his administration’s commitment to lower the monthly amortization for homeless Filipinos.
Five times the need, five times the effort
Records show that the annual average housing production in the past years is pegged at approximately 200,000 housing units. At this rate, the gap in production would balloon at an unprecedented proportion, if not properly acted upon. Thus, the target to produce five times more every year came to being.
Secretary Acuzar has vowed to work “five times harder” to fulfill his mission as the housing czar of this administration.
The first few months of his stint as secretary, nonetheless, have been productively spent with rigorous technical consultations with industry experts and engagements with relevant stakeholders who are key to the program’s success.
Initially, DHSUD with its newly-appointed officials, has been actively involving the key players expected to participate in the program. First and foremost are local government units which will serve as the implementing arm of the program in terms of allocating land resources and other forms of assistance, and identification of beneficiaries.
As of February 8, DHSUD has sealed 70 memorandums of understanding with LGUs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It also led the groundbreaking ceremonies with 15 LGUs, signaling the official commencement of the projects.
In show of his trust and support, President Marcos Jr. has personally visited the Bagong Sibol Housing Project in Brgy. Nangka, Marikina City in October 2022, inaugurated the Palayan City Township Housing Project in Brgy. Atate, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija in December 2022 and led the groundbreaking of the Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Project in Batasan, Quezon City in January 2023.
These projects are touted to become model townships that will provide not only shelters to the beneficiaries but also present opportunities for social and economic growth. With master plans that include schools, market places, open parks and health stations, the soon-to-be residents will enjoy the amenities they will require in their day-to-day lives.
Prior to this, the President has also announced the impending issuance of an executive order that will allocate idle government lands for housing projects. DHSUD has estimated around 16,000 hectares of idle land resources which can be used for housing.
Other organizations in the bureaucracy have also offered involvement based on their respective mandates to help the Pambansang Pabahay, such as the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, League of Cities of the Philippines, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Land Registration Authority, Sandiganbayan, among other groups.
In an outright declaration of their intent to participate, some provincial LGUs have also signed a memorandum of understanding with DHSUD, particularly on social preparation, informal settler families census enumeration, socio-economic profiling and the establishment of social parameters.
On the financial side, heads of government financial institutions, including the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, Development Bank of the Philippines, Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System and Land Bank of the Philippines have formalized their support through a memorandum of understanding with DHSUD as a testament to their commitment toward realizing the Pambansang Pabahay’s goal. President Marcos Jr. has also facilitated initial discussions between DHSUD and private banks on how the latter can help further fueling the program’s course.
DHSUD’s multi-lateral organization partners, Habitat for Humanity, UN Habitat and the World Bank, have continuously extended assistance and vowed on doing so in aid of the human settlements and urban development sector.
Housing production is another area that requires extensive participation of the private sector to ensure the program’s realization and sustainability. Hence, various developer and construction groups have also been tapped. In return, they have reassured DHSUD of their steadfast support in producing the target of one million housing units per year.
Meanwhile, the significant backing of both chambers of Congress is also a big boost to the program’s legislative agenda, including funding support.
Full service for the people
The Pambansang Pabahay intends to provide a home for everyone. It also promotes unity, inclusivity and sustainability for the service of the Filipino people wanting to have a house of their own.
In recognition of this, DHSUD believes that no one should be left behind. Hence, it has also conducted some dialogues to engage indigenous peoples and marginalized sectors, particularly groups from the transport (Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas), urban poor (Kalipunan ng Masang Pilipino) and security guards (Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators).
Leaders and representatives from various cause-oriented groups, namely BAYAN, Bayan Muna, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), Gabriela, Anak Pawis and Samahang Maralita sa Temporary Housing-Tondo Chapter also met with Secretary Acuzar to share their first-hand experiences on relocating to government housing projects.
On top of leading the Pambansang Pabahay, DHSUD continuously performs its core mandate which includes policy development, regulatory functions and advisory roles. From July 2022 onward, the Department has issued license to sell to 321 projects with 90 ,143 residential units. This ensures the conformance of the development plans of these projects to the prescribed standards.
On urban development, three Comprehensive Land Use Plans and eight Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans were approved, and 25,021 registered homeowners’ associations are being monitored. DHSUD has also led activities toward the implementation of the Philippine New Urban Agenda.
The National Human Settlements Board has also allowed another year of the rental extension (January-December 2023) under the same terms in 2022. The allowable maximum increase in rent on any residential unit is capped relative to its prevailing rental value.
DHSUD also exercises oversight function on its attached agencies or key shelter agencies. Notably, Pag-IBIG Fund has reported 46,433 housing units (38% increase from last year) under end-user financing, amounting to P52.4 billion in loan value (105% increase from last year). From this, 8,444 are socialized housing units with a loan value of P3.8 billion.
The National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, meanwhile, has secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission on their Shelter Asset-Backed Securities, which is expected to encourage developers’ participation for the Pambansang Pabahay.
For the Emergency Housing Assistance Program, the National Housing Authority NHA) has assisted 33,637 beneficiaries, with a total amount of P349 million for the North Luzon Earthquake, Typhoon Odette (Regions 4B and 7), Typhoon Ursula and other calamities. With the projects that started from the previous administration, NHA has awarded 30,000 Certificate of Eligibility for Lot Award and has completed 7,300 new housing construction.
The Social Housing Finance Corporation, on the other hand, has assisted 706 informal settler families through community-driven and multi-stakeholder shelter financing programs amounting to P438 million loans released for four Community Mortgage Program projects. It has also turned over 100 units to Intramuros Community Homeowners Association in partnership with its administration.
Road to 6 million homes
The Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program has just started, yet it has significantly made an impact on the dream of owning a house in a sustainable and safe community.
Much has to be done but DHSUD is moving forward with the program’s out-of-the-box approaches. It will continue to work on funding for interest support, secure land requirement and empower more LGUs on the ground.
More so, the Department will explore avenues for financial support through developmental loans, end-user financing and private banks participation, as well as incentivizing the private sector banks to participate in the program.
It is a long way, indeed, but the plans are in place and DHSUD is up for the challenge.
At the end of the day – lahat ng Pilipino, may bahay. That is the mindset that DHSUD will bear moving forward next year and the years to come.