SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday underscored the need to tackle the housing crisis in the country, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez said it’s high time the public and private sectors work together to address the country’s housing backlog, which is estimated to reach up to 6.8 million housing units next year.
“We really need to face fully this housing crisis and address the backlog as we try to rebuild the pandemic-battered economy,”
Benitez said at the weekly “Ugnayan sa Batasan” media forum.
Benitez’s committee had earlier adopted a resolution seeking to declare a housing crisis in the country while urging the government to mobilize resources to accelerate housing production and provide adequate housing to underserved families.
During the media forum, however, Benitez clarified that all players and stakeholders—including national and local governments and the private sector—must be involved in developing viable solutions to address the housing backlog.
“Hindi naman lahat ‘yun manggagaling sa gobyerno. May porsyento dyan na galing sa gobyerno para sa ating informal settlers at may porsyento na manggagaling din sa private sector o socialized and low income housing construction and developers,” Benitez pointed out.
According to Benitez, around 800,000 housing units must be built every year in order to cope with the country’s rising population.
Meanwhile, Benitez revealed that the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the National Housing Authority were asking for a budget of at least P100 billion to address the housing backlog for the next 15 to 20 years.
“Malamang hindi mangyayari ‘yung ganung kalaking pondong maibibigay sa kanila. I think depende kung magkano ang maibibigay sa kanila,” Benitez said.
“They are trying to find more financing schemes to allow them to build the units and provide further incentives para ‘yung private developers or private sector ay pwede rin tumulong dito sa backlog,” he added.
Benitez said the House of Representatives is also doing its part in providing solutions to the housing backlog problem.
The House recently approved on final reading House Bill 8248, which aims to establish an on-site, in-city, near city local government resettlement program to ensure the sustainability and viability of resettlement projects for informal settler families. Also being taken up in plenary is the proposed Rental Housing Subsidy Act.
Both Bills are among the priority measures of the legislative chamber and principally authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
In addition to these, Benitez said Speaker Velasco has met with with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario regarding the planned visit of the House Committee on Housing to Marawi City to look into the status and progress of the housing project for the families who were displaced by the so-called “Marawi siege.”
“The Housing Committee will probably go visit Marawi in the second week of April,” Benitez disclosed.
He added: “Nakipag-usap na si Speaker Velasco kay Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary del Rosario na pupunta po kami ng Marawi. Isa po yan sa dapat i-continue at balikan at i-monitor ng House as oversight function.”#