Gov’t urged to address backlog in mass housing

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

TO ADDRESS the increasing backlog in mass housing, a lawmaker urged the National Government to create programs that will empower those living in slum areas and informal settlements in country.

Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, said that the government should provide informal settlers a housing financial assistance to address the huge housing backlog in the country.

"Empower these informal settlers give them assistance or if possible land for their permanent house, because if we consider what happening right now they were able to build a roof… informal settlers themselves are the biggest 'construction company' in the world. If we use their capabilities we have a chance to decrease or eradicate the problem," Benitez said.


The lawmaker cited the National Housing Authority (NHA) 2010 data, which showed that there are 544,609 informal settler families leaving in National Capital Region (NCR) alone.

Benitez said the country's housing backlog has ballooned to an estimated 5 million units, saying the number is continuously increasing.

He said that these informal settlers should have a representation in the government through the proposed Department of Housing, Planning and Urban Development (DHPUD).

"A housing department is needed to monitor agencies doing housing-related projects and for them [informal settlers] to have representation in executive department," the lawmaker added.

Benitez said the committee report on a consolidated bill creating DHPUD is now being prepared to be presented in the plenary for the second reading approval in the next few months.

He said that measure aims to consolidate, rationalize and coordinate the functions and powers of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., Home Guaranty Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund, NHA, and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

Benitez also said that the measure will be a step in the direction of providing decent and affordable housing to every Filipino family at the soonest possible time.

The lawmaker from Negros Occidental expressed his concerned after the backlog for national housing soared to five million.

Benitez stressed that the government should put extra time to address the ballooning backlog through a master plan.

He said the challenge for the government is to have a national planning program that would be for a long term basis and second, once and for all solve the problem or arrest the increasing figure of housing problems.

Benitez said backlog can be remedied by aiming how many houses can be built in a year and that should be the minimum.

"The challenged is that first, to have a national planning program that would be for a long term basis. Number two, once and for all solve the problem or arrest the increasing figure of housing problems… so to arrest the backlog, we need to build 100,000 units for this year alone just to keep it at the same level and increase it the following year," Benitez said.

Previously he said that the government should seek the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing to assess the country's rising housing backlog and make recommendations on how to efficiently and swiftly address the problem. (Sunnex)

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