At least 62 local government units have signed up to be partners of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) in its mission to build one million houses every year in the next six years.
The project is under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s flagship Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program, that seeks to address housing gap of some 6.5 million units in the country.
According to Mario Mallari, Director for Public Assistance Service of the DHSUD, the 62 LGUs have each signed a memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with DHSUD to formalize their intent to pursue housing projects in their respective areas.
DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar noted that the overwhelming support of the LGUs indicates that the housing program is on the right track.
“With the President’s Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program (4PH), I know we are off to a good start. I can see this program as the embodiment of the dream of every Filipino family wanting to have a house of their own, “ Acuzar said.
“We aim to make this dream a reality in the next six years of this administration,” he added.
Acuzar said the LGUs play a very important role in the program from the planning stages up to the actual turnover and maintenance.
The LGUs also play an active role in identifying idle government lands that can be tapped for the government’s housing program.
“Under this program, we are introducing an innovative framework which will ease the burden brought by two major bottlenecks in housing production and finance – affordability and access to funds,” Acuzar said.
“We are now exploring out-of-the-box concepts and financial structures which could potentially be the breakthrough strategies to arrest the homelessness woes in the country.”
Earlier, President Marcos said he is looking at a P1 billion subsidy to reduce monthly amortizations for recipients of the government’s low-cost housing units.
He made the pronouncement during the groundbreaking ceremony of a housing project under the Pambansang Pabahay program.
“We are still left with the fact that many of our beneficiaries will still not be able to afford the monthly amortization of these units,” Marcos said, reiterating his vow to provide “decent and affordable housing for every Filipino family.”
“Perhaps, if we find a funding source, we will allot P1 billion to start with the distribution of subsidies for our future tenants,” he added.
He also urged Congress to include housing interest support as part of the regular appropriations in succeeding years.
President Marcos then emphasized that the development of sustainable human settlements would help his administration realize its bid to build “better, more resilient, and more equitable communities.”
The Batasan Development Urban Renewal Master Plan, spearheaded by the DHSUD, will see the completion of three main sites at the Batasan Road Development, NGC-West Controlled Economic Zone, and the Manotoc Property.
The first phase of the Batasan area’s redevelopment will include the construction of two 33-story buildings with a total of 2,160 housing units planned to become both commercial and residential.
The plans include the use of the lot’s ground floor for the improved terminal for the Batasan Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (BaTODA). The BaTODA members will be among the priority beneficiaries of the project.
President Marcos said that the groundbreaking of the first phase of the Batasan Development Urban Renewal Plan is “only the beginning of one of the largest projects” under the government’s flagship housing program.
“Slowly but surely, we will be able to achieve our greatest aspirations for the nation, including the dream for decent and affordable housing for every Filipino family,” he said.
“Those living here in the surrounding areas will have complete access to markets, to schools, to hospitals and various means of making income so they will prosper and get to see their goals and dreams come to life,” Marcos said.
Acuzar said the monthly amortization could be lowered with the help of an interest subsidy. With such a subsidy, instead of P8,000, a family could pay P3,500 to P4,000, he said.
“We are looking for ways to include an interest subsidy in the housing program. This is very important as this could lower monthly amortizations,” Acuzar said. “It’s not free but people will pay at a lower price.”
“This project is proof that we do not just aim to bridge the housing gap―we also exhaust all efforts to ensure that we renew our urban spaces to help improve the lives of our countrymen,” Acuzar said.