P600-B needed over 20 years to finish housing backlog: housing dep't

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2020 07:06 AM

MANILA - The country's housing department would need P30 billion per year in 20 years, or around P600 billion, to construct 6.57 million houses and finish the backlog in low-cost housing. 

This was revealed in congressional deliberations for the 2021 budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Monday night. 

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas lamented the slashing of funds in the DHSUD's proposed budget--currently P632.6 million, down 29% from the 2020 appropriated budget. 

"Nakakalulang i-address ang backlog. Nakakalungkot tapos ang liit ng budget," she said. 

"Unrealistic ang expectation ng national government na kayang magbayad ng amortization ang lahat ng tao."

The DHSUD only began operating in January 2020 after it was created by law in February 2019 from the merger of 2 agencies--the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). 

Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, who stood as sponsor for the DHSUD's budget, said the department has no corporate earnings or revenue but relies on those from its 4 attached agencies. 

These are the National Housing Authority (NHA), the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF, more known as Pag-IBIG Fund), and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC). 

The biggest of these funds comes from the PAG-IBIG Fund, which Daza said had P34.37 billion in income in 2019. 

He added the NHA has P1.2 billion in revenue collection from previous housing projects and projects to earn P3 billion in low-cost housing. 

Meanwhile, the NHMFC last earned a net income of P278 million, and the SHFC taking in P220 million annually.

Daza admitted this was not enough, with the DHSUD only getting less than 1% in the proposed budget allocation. 

"We need more funding and increase subsidy, especially for informal sector families," he said. 

"In fact, to cure the 6.5-million housing backlog, we estimate we would need P30 billion a year for the next 20 years to address the backlog in the housing sector." 

Daza said the DHSUD is pushing for a national housing production, development, and financing act to help address the lack of funding. 

Meanwhile, the DHSUD through Daza assured Brosas that no demolitions would occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It added the 1,983 housing units in Pandi, Bulacan are expected to be turned over to their owners by the end of November 2020. 

Asked by Rep. Carlos Zarate about the status of housing projects in the rehabilitation of Marawi City, Daza said only a third of the P60 billion fund has been released, 3 years after the Marawi siege. 

He said, however, that the project would still meet its target by December 2021. 

"The first 2 years involved clearing, the next will be actual construction. I think we have a good chance to finish everything by 2021. All of these will be properly coordinated and meet the targets by year-end 2021," Daza said. 

After an hour of interpellation, the house moved to terminate the DHSUD budget deliberations.