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Fact check: Housing project in Camarines Sur not just thanks to Marcos

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Fact check: Housing project in Camarines Sur not just thanks to Marcos
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. graces the first groundbreaking ceremony in Bicol region for a high-rise housing project under the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) Program, March 16, 2023.
Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units are the lead proponents in the implementation of the Marcos administration’s flagship housing project, contrary to misleading claims that imply it was just Marcos’ decision to grant thousands of housing units to residents of Camarines Sur, the home province of former vice president and former presidential candidate Leni Robredo.

CLAIM: President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. gave at least 10,000 housing units to residents of Camarines Sur through his administration's flagship housing program, the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) program, as a voluntary gesture of goodwill to the residents of the province where Robredo clinched a landslide victory during the 2022 presidential elections.

RATING: This is misleading / needs context.

FACTS:

What the videos say

In a Facebook video posted by vlogger “JaLyn Charita Talks” on March 16, he described the provision of at least 10,000 housing units to residents of Camarines Sur under the 4PH program of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) as a “historic” gesture by the president who “did not forget” Bicolanos.

The vlogger said that Marcos “is that kind” to the people of Camarines Sur even though the province was Robredo's bailiwick.

“Akalain nyo, ganyan kabait si Pangulong Bongbong Marcos d'yan sa Bicol na alam natin malaki ang bilangan ng bumoto kay leni Robredo kasi lugar n'ya 'yan. Pero balewala yun kay Pangulong Bongbong Marcos. Hindi kayo kinalimutan, mga taga-Bicol dyan (Can you believe it, that’s how kind President Bongbong Marcos is in Bicol where we know a large number voted for Robredo because that’s her place. But that’s nothing to President Bongbong Marcos. He did not forget you, Bicolanos),” he said.

Facebook page “Balitam Pinas" also posted a similar video on March 16 with a title that states Marcos "surprised everyone" with 11,800 housing units in Camarines Sur.

Other similar Facebook videos about the groundbreaking ceremony of 4PH in Camarines Sur had captions that described Marcos "giving" houses to residents of Robredo's hometown. This allegedly put to shame the former vice president who has yet to lead a similar housing program in the locality.

What the videos left out

The 4PH Program is the Marcos administration's flagship mass housing program that aims to construct at least one million housing units every year for the next six years. 

According to the program’s operations manual released in 2022, local government units are the “main project proponents” … “responsible for project site identification and the development of their respective residential project/s.”

Under the manual's section on roles and responsibilities, it's the DHSUD that will act as the "overall enabler, i.e. initiator, coordinator and facilitator of the 4PH program." Part of the DHSUD’s responsibilities includes facilitating the provision of funds for housing projects and monitoring the implementation of the program. 

LGUs, on the other hand, "act as the main proponent and major player in the planning, implementation and management of their respective housing projects."

The operations manual also states that "LGUs are strongly encouraged to be the proponent of their housing projects” and that “as project lead, they shall be responsible for applying for a developmental loan from the (government financial institutions)” subject to laws and requirements. 

Before the 4PH program can be launched in a locality, the LGU must also first execute a memorandum of understanding to identify parcels of land that can be used for the development of housing units, according to the manual. 

This is then followed by the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the LGU, the DHSUD and the developer of the housing project.

Marcos himself said during his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony of the 4PH project in Naga City, Camarines Sur that there needs to be close coordination between the national and local governments to implement the housing project. 

Philstar.com reached out to the DHSUD for the latest count of its signed memoranda of understanding with local government units for the 4PH program. They have yet to respond as of press time. 

But according to a news update from Radio Television Malacanang (RTVM), the state's official broadcasting agency, the 4PH program has "sealed 83 memoranda (sic) of understanding and led a total of 19 groundbreaking activities."

The six-hectare multi-story housing project under the 4PH program is also not the first housing project in Camarines Sur. 

Around 50 housing units were turned over to residents of Sagñay, Camarines Sur in May 2022 as part of a housing project by the Office of the Vice President under Robredo in partnership with the local government and other non-government organizations.

The 4PH program also aims to make housing more affordable -- but not free -- by providing a "preferential interest rate" of 1%.

Essential context

Despite the ambitious goal of the 4PH program, the DHSUD only received a P1.5 billion budget for 2023, according to the General Appropriations Act document uploaded at the website of the Department of Budget Management.

The DHSUD issued Memorandum Circular 2023-004 in 2023 to tap local governments to “expedite” and act as the “lead proponent” in the implementation of the housing project within its jurisdiction, according to the same RTVM news update

Philstar.com requested a copy of the memorandum circular. The DHSUD has yet to respond as of press time.

Why does this matter

The Facebook video by "JaLyn Charita Talks" has received at least 8,000 views, 1,700 reactions, 300 shares and 200 comments.

Several comments under the video also falsely claim that only Marcos has addressed the housing problem in Robredo's own hometown. 

--

Philstar.com is a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections and an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here. Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected].

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BONGBONG MARCOS

CAMARINES SUR

DHSUD

FACT CHECK

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