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Congress vows measures to address ‘housing crisis’

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Citing the government’s 6.7-million housing backlog, the House leadership vowed to pass legislative measures to address what it described as a “crisis” in the housing sector.

“You can expect our Congress to continue to be a partner of President Duterte in fulfilling his promise to build an inclusive housing program and provide decent and affordable houses to each Filipino,” Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said at the Housing Summit held in Bulacan earlier this week.

The Marinduque congressman said the House of Representatives has already passed several measures to help the government’s housing program and cited House Bill No. 8248, which institutionalizes on-site, in-city or near-city resettlement, as one of them.

“This on-site, in-city, near-city local government settlement program was our priority in this 18th Congress. We will build a housing program within the context of community,” Velasco said.

The House committee on housing and urban development, for its part, has committed to closely work together with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and other government agencies to address the country’s 6.7-million housing backlog.

Panel vice chair Florida Robes said they would ensure the implementation of 18 key proposals in House Resolution No. 1458, which seeks to fill the gaps in the housing sector.

The congresswoman from San Jose de Monte City, Bulacan revealed that their panel also plans to increase the budget for socialized housing to at least P50 billion starting next year and increase it every year thereafter to enable the government to jumpstart addressing the issue.

She pointed out that the government historically allocates very limited funding for housing with spending on housing averaging only 0.74 percent of the national budget from 2010 to 2021.

As a result, from July 2016 to June 2020, the government and the private sector constructed only 777,879 housing units.

Robes said many of the housing backlogs may be addressed at the local government level through the help of the private sector. “A lot of it is through political will which is the reason why we listed at least 18 proposals to maximize our efforts to solve the backlog,” she said.

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