Senator Francis Escudero on Wednesday said the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) should build at least one million housing units annually in the next six years to narrow down the housing backlog.
He said this would also provide more affordable homes to the Filipino people. Escudero issued the statement as he welcomed the appointment of long-time builder and property developer Jose Rizalino “Jerry” Acuzar as secretary of DHSUD by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last week.
Based on DHSUD data, the national housing backlog stood at 2.017 million units at the end of 2016, the year former President Roderigo Duterte assumed office. It currently stands at 6.796 million units. It is projected to balloon to 11.759 million units by 2028, an increase of 4.962 million units over the next six years.
“The DHSUD estimates the shelter demand to grow by 827,000 units a year. This means building 2,277 homes every day over the next six years just to meet future demand, without denting the huge 6.796-million-unit backlog prior to 2023. Building at least one million units a year should be the fighting target under newly-appointed Housing Secretary Acuzar,” Escudero said.
Escudero however, stressed the one million target will only happen if the government will pour in more resources into its mass housing projects and make it on top of its priority list in line with the President’s vision to provide affordable and decent shelter for Filipinos.
“Housing remains in the basement of government spending. This year, for example, shelter retained its cellar-dwelling status in the national budget, receiving a microscopic 1/6th of 1%, or P5 billion—the amount property moguls allot for constructing one high-rise,” Escudero said.
Meanwhile, a bill has been filed at the House of Representatives that grants rental subsidy to informal settler families (ISFs) to help them cope with the rising cost of basic commodities.
“It is getting harder for the poor to live decently due to the pandemic and inflation. The government has to step in and intervene so that informal settlers can devote their meager resources to food and education,” AGRI party-list group Rep. Wilbert Lee said.
House Bill 2879, or the Rental Housing Subsidy Act of 2022, aims to establish a rent subsidy program for qualified ISFs.
The program provides eligible beneficiaries who have been displaced from their homes due to calamities with the option of receiving rent subsidy so they can access formal housing options, allowing them to stay in areas closer to their source of livelihood.
The House of Representatives approved the measure on third and final reading during the 18th Congress, but failed to hurdle the Senate.
If passed, the DHSUD shall grant beneficiaries residing in Metro Manila a flat rate of P3,500. The DHSUD and National Economic and Development Authority shall determine the rate for those living in other regions. The rental subsidy has a maximum contract of five years. With Maricel V. Cruz