Government agencies are undertaking big policy reforms on socialized and economic housing to catch up with the backlog and provide affordable and livable dwellings to Filipinos.
In a webinar organized by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Angelito Aguila, director at the Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation Bureau, said the DSHUD is revising the standards and prices of socialized and economic housing to reflect enlarged and expanded measurements.
Aguila said the government is exploring long-term lease, rental housing and rental subsidy as other modes of housing provision.
“Socialized housing need not (just) be projects for sale; they can also be resettlement by NHA (National Housing Authority), LGUs (local government units) … as long as they cater to the poor and the underserved. Housing need not just apply to titled properties,” Aguila said.
He said these options should be made available to Filipinos who cannot purchase their own homes right away.
“We are enhancing the housing policies and merge them with our balanced housing program,” Aguila said.
He expressed confidence rental housing would attract developers through incentives granted by the Board of Investments.
Aguila said the DHSUD will come out by March with new standards in size and price of socialized and economic housing by adjusting their dimensions.
He said the measurements of socialized housing will be expanded and enlarged to make units livable. The new dimensions may breach the measurements of economic housing which will also be adjusted accordingly.
Socialized housing starts at 18 square meters (sq.m.) while economic starts at 22 sq.m.
Aguila said the DHSUD aims to come up with a survey of idle government lands and make them available for socialized or economic housing.
“We (have to come up with) innovative programs so idle lands can generate revenues for sustainable housing,” he said.
He added these can form part of the DHSUD’s Building Adequate Livable and Inclusive Filipino Communities or BALAI program.
Aguila expressed hope the Philippines will be able to recover this year lost production in 2020 due to the pandemic.
But he said housing needs additional allocation to attain its goal of providing dwellings to Filipinos.
He said the budget for housing in the Philippines is meager when compared to those allocated in other countries in Asean.
Projections place the backlog in housing at 22 million by 2040.
The Philippines is producing just less than a quarter of the housing units required to meet demand of about 800,000 units per year.
Government housing programs have consistently been severely underfunded with the average annual spending a measly .74 percent of the national budget from 2010 to 2021. – Irma Isip