P3.9 billion housing budget, P9.6 billion intelligence fund hit
The serious and complicated problems besetting the housing sector were tackled at the hearing of the proposed P3.9-billion budget of the DHSUD for 2021 that again put a spotlight on the three rehabilitation blackeyes of the government: war-torn Marawi City, Yolanda-hit areas in Eastern Visayas and communities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano last January.
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P3.9 billion housing budget, P9.6 billion intelligence fund hit
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With billions of pesos for housing dispersed among several agencies and a small budget allocated for the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), it is no surprise that the government has yet to make a dent in the country’s 6.5-million shelter backlog and rehabilitate areas hit by manmade and natural disasters, senators lamented yesterday.

The serious and complicated problems besetting the housing sector were tackled at the hearing of the proposed P3.9-billion budget of the DHSUD for 2021 that again put a spotlight on the three rehabilitation blackeyes of the government: war-torn Marawi City, Yolanda-hit areas in Eastern Visayas and communities affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano last January.

During the hearing, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hit the government’s decision to allocate a measly P4 billion for the housing sector while it pours a total of P9.6 billion into confidential and intelligence funds in the proposed national budget for next year.

“With that huge backlog, I do not see the logic why we need more confidential and intelligence funds than budget to give our people decent and safe homes,” Drilon said.

The housing backlog is currently at 6.5 million and could balloon to 12 million by 2030 and 22 million by 2040 if not addressed immediately.

The DHSUD, headed by Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, originally proposed P77 billion for 2021 but the request was slashed by the Department of Budget and Management.

“The P4-billion budget of the housing sector is only 20 percent of the P19.3-billion appropriation for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Del Rosario said.

Senators pushed for increasing the budget for the DHSUD and the housing sector, whose proposed budget is equivalent only to 0.08 of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 or 0.02 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The DHSUD earlier reported that it needed at least P30 billion a year over a period of 20 years to construct 6.7 million houses and address the housing backlog, roughly three million of which are in the socialized and subsidized housing category.

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