The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association, Inc. (CREBA) urged the government to create a “full-fledged” housing department to clear the estimated 5.7 million housing backlog.
In a statement, CREBA said a Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) will be a key factor in addressing the problem.
Vice President Leni Robredo earlier said the housing backlog from 2011 to 2016 will reach 5.7 million, based on a study by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“Only a full-fledged department can consolidate government efforts to attain our national housing goals with a Housing Secretary clothed with ample powers, functions and corresponding administrative accountabilities implementing a clear and sustainable housing vision,” CREBA national president Charlie Gorayeb said.
He said a bill seeking the creation of the DHUD has been pending in Congress for more than two decades.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, who heads the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, said the measure reached third reading in the 16th Congress.
The senator said he will push for the creation of a Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, which will consolidate, rationalize and coordinate the functions and powers of the various key shelter agencies.
Among the agencies that will be consolidated are the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and the National Housing Authority (NHA).
Meanwhile, CREBA national chairman Noel Toti Carino said housing and urban development is not just about the creation of residential structures and communities.
“All these involve planning, finance, promotion, regulation, resource allocation, administration, delivery and management, and many other activities and support services involved to ensure a highly-beneficial, cost-efficient, growth-oriented and even revenue-generating and sustainable national housing program,” Carino said.
CREBA cited a study by the Asian Development Bank, which found that the Philippines has the lowest budget for housing programs in Asia.
“In the Philippines alone will you see housing ranking among the least of government’s priorities,” Gorayeb stressed. “So now is the time to rally support before our country gains the notoriety for being the land of the homeless.”
The group noted that without a housing department, the national housing program loses the keen attention and priority it deserves.