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Government, private sector leaders bare housing thrusts at CREBA confab

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Key government officials and housing sector leaders have outlined their agenda to resolve issues faced by the industry at the Philippine Housing and Real Estate Summit held by the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) in celebration of its 49th founding anniversary last month.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on urban development, housing and resettlement, said in his keynote address that the real estate industry is in a good position to lead the country out of the twin crises of 6.8-million units housing backlog and the economic woes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the industry generated nearly P126 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2021 alone, underscoring its significant multiplier effect that can expedite the country’s economic recovery.

Meanwhile, Rep. Francisco Benitez, chair of the House committee on urban development and housing, said while housing needs an increase, production has been low and slow. He cited rising prices of construction materials and land values, land use controls and building standards as among the issues adversely affecting housing supply, while affordability has been severely affected as many families have crossed over the poverty threshold.

Benitez said his committee has already passed the In-City Housing Bill and is deliberating the Sustainable Cities Bill in response to the sustainable development goal and urban agenda of the United Nations.

For his part, Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno emphasized the administration’s commitment to intensify public infrastructure investment to up to five to six percent of the annual gross domestic product to drive economic activity, job creation and the development of sustainable and livable communities.

He cited the pillars of support for the growth of housing and real estate in the country, among them the Property Valuation Reform Bill, to boost investor confidence. The DOF is also leading efforts to improve the bureaucratic efficiency of real property tax collection.

On the operational aspect, Housing Undersecretary Garry de Guzman presented the agency’s plan to construct one million houses every year for six years, and improve home loan affordability by offering a preferential rate of one percent and a social housing amortization schedule of only P1,912 per month for 30 years.

CREBA

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