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Developers push solutions to address housing backlog

(The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Property developers have vowed to seek more sustainable solutions to address the housing backlog, particularly in the aftermath of the widespread devastation caused by the recent supertyphoon.

Although a full evaluation of damage from Super Typhoon Yolanda is still underway, the country will face rising homelessness from climate refugees, or people who have lost decent shelter from extreme weather.

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), the largest group of private developers in the country, acknowledged that the effects of environmental degradation, and not just poverty, were also partly to blame for the national housing backlog of 3.9 million units. 

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, housing is among the nation’s critical economic indicators.  Its Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 notes that housing construction would also be affected by natural and man-made disasters, and policies on resettlement.

SHDA is seeking support for more Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). “We need this especially in the construction of socialized low-rise buildings in urbanized areas for the poor, including resettlement of informal settlers, as well as legislation that would focus on the housing deficit,” said Arlene Keh, SHDA governor and committee chair for socialized mid-rise buildings.  The group has proposed that developers take on the construction investments involved in the PPP, while government takes care of providing buildable land, and extending housing loans to the poor. 

In legislation, SHDA has thrown support for Senate Bill 1104, which will create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD).

“Establishing the DHUD, rather than a council, will mean more decision-making power and direct access to the president on housing policies and issues,” said Paul Tanchi, SHDA chairman.  “It will work to raise compliance and performance from other shelter agencies.  The department would be focused specifically on housing needs, and will have the expertise and the budget to accomplish this.”

SB 1104 will also look into the availability of basic services and facilities, accessibility and proximity to job sites and other economic opportunities in housing development and resettlement areas for the poor.

The bill also looks into another primary housing concern, the burdensome paperwork and process involved in government housing programs.  Homeowners and home buyers are typically overloaded with repetitive information requirements, which the bill hopes to eliminate.

“There are issues of affordability, access to housing finance, and creating energy-efficient housing solutions.  There is a need for families and households to be resettled into safer grounds, far from natural threats and waterways,” added Tanchi.   “The creation of the DHUD will help us confront these issues, and lead us to a coordinated national housing development program.”

 

ARLENE KEH DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT HOUSING ITS PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PAUL TANCHI PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS SENATE BILL SUBDIVISION AND HOUSING DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION
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