Marcos eyes P1 billion subsidy fund for housing program

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos eyes P1 billion subsidy fund for housing program
President Marcos shows a copy of The STAR before placing it in a time capsule during the groundbreaking of the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing Project in Batasan Hills, Quezon City yesterday. Joining the President are Speaker Martin Romualdez, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar.
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos is pushing for a P1-billion housing subsidy fund to provide low-income Filipinos access to decent and affordable homes.

At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing Project in Batasan Hills, Quezon City yesterday, Marcos said the funding would support beneficiaries who cannot afford the monthly amortization of their housing units.

“I call on Congress for your support in including housing interest support as part of the regular appropriations for the succeeding years,” the President said in his speech.

Among those who attended the event were Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and other officials.

Marcos said he and Acuzar are looking at the possibility of putting up the subsidy fund for the government’s housing program.

“Perhaps, if we find a funding source, we will allot P1 billion to start with the distribution of subsidies for our future tenants,” the President said in mixed Filipino and English.

In an interview, Acuzar explained the proposed interest subsidy could bring down the monthly amortization rate, for example in Metro Manila, from around P8,000 to P3,000.

Marcos reminded the DHSUD, local government units and all stakeholders to continue to demonstrate transparency and honesty in all transactions, keeping in mind the need to ensure the timely completion of the housing projects.

“Time and again, in every undertaking, we are reminded of the commitment, the collaboration and compassion that is needed to be able to truly prioritize the welfare and the interests of our people,” he said.

The administration aims to construct six million homes over the next six years that would benefit some 30 million Filipinos.

Belmonte expressed gratitude to Marcos and the DHSUD for choosing the city as a site of the government’s flagship housing program.

“To our President, you can expect our full support, prompt action to quickly realize the construction of six million homes,” she said.

“We recognize our duty to protect the people from danger and at the same time acknowledge that decent shelter is a basic human right,” Belmonte added.

The first phase of the redevelopment of the Batasan area will include the construction of two 33-story buildings with a total of 2,160 housing units.

Members of the Batasan Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association will be among the priority beneficiaries of the project.

Acuzar said the project is expected to be completed in three to four years.

Belmonte said about 210,000 families or about a third of Quezon City’s population are considered informal settlers.

She said the city government is conducting an inventory of idle lands that could be used for socialized housing.

At the same event, Marcos also led the virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the Cauayan City Housing Project in Isabela, which is expected to benefit 1,080 families.

Marcos is set to sign an executive order reserving all idle state-owned lands – estimated to be more than 16,000 hectares – for government housing projects.

‘6 million target doable’

Speaker Martin Romualdez, who attended the groundbreaking for the housing project in Quezon City, expressed confidence that President Marcos’ target of building six million homes in six years is attainable.

“Our target: one million housing units every year. This is an ambitious target, but I am confident we can achieve this through our unity and the cooperation of all stakeholders,” Romualdez said.

Local officials call the project “Bagong Bliss para sa Mamamayan ng Quezon City.” It is reminiscent of the BLISS (Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services) holistic housing program of the President’s mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos when she was minister of human settlements during the first Marcos presidency.

“President Marcos is addressing the country’s problems on all fronts almost simultaneously: food security, foreign investments, jobs and livelihood, public order and safety, health and social protection, as well as social services like housing,” Romualdez said.

From day one of his administration, the President has “instructed all of us in government to move heaven and earth to ensure that affordable housing units would be available to homeless Filipinos.” – Janvic Mateo, Delon Porcalla



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