• DBM urged NHA to use the remaining P350-M emergency housing fund; to transfer funds to DILG by 2014

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    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Friday that the government-owned and controlled company National Housing Authority (NHA) should already use the P350-million housing funds reported to be “intact” which was supposed to be used for the disaster-stricken areas from the destruction made by the Typhoon Santi and the 7.2-magnitude Bohol-Cebu earthquake.

    “The NHA appears to have some difficulty with disbursing the funds released to them for their emergency housing initiatives. We urge them to make use of these funds as quickly as possible, so the government can implement time-sensitive emergency housing activities that will address the housing requirements of those affected by calamities or disasters,” said Larry Drapete, DBM’s Budget and Management Bureau director.

    Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on the other hand said that NHA’s Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) fund supposed to be for 2014 will all be transferred to the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) 2014 proposed national budget.

    “DBM thought it best to allocate the emergency housing funds for 2014 to the [DILG], which has the capacity to implement quick-relief housing programs. If we can facilitate faster expenditures for programs that require swift action, we can likewise provide immediate aid to families with urgent housing needs, particularly in the wake of disasters and calamities,” Abad said.

    According to the DBM, a total of P621 million was allotted to the 2013 EHA budget for calamity victims of the NHA. The P271 million disbursed by the DBM to NHA’s EHA is still “unspent” as of the moment, while the existing P350 million is still “intact”—leaving the P621 million still in the hands of NHA, despite the increasing number of calamity victims in need of immediate housing aid.

    Also under the Settlements Upgrading Program (SUP) of the NHA, the DBM also said that the GOCC allotted P127.8 million on the program but was “postponed” because of “NHA’s slow disbursements under the program in previous years.”

    DBM records showed that the NHA expenditure is “lagging” since 2011 in its resettlement program, where the GOCC only disbursed P2.7 billion compared to the P4.3 billion allotted for the resettlement program in 2011.

    Drapete said that the NHA still has to fulfill requirements for the issuance cash allocation notice for the resettlement program for the year, which hold them back in disbursing the P4.9 billion allocated to the resettlement program.

    The 4.9 billion resettlement funds was supposed to be given to families in National Capital Region, Regions III and IV (P3 million), as well as other regions nationwide (P1.9 billion).

    DBM records also stated that in 2012, only P1.2 billion was released and used by NHA in the resettlement program compared to the P5.5 billion total budget. The P1.2 billion provided only a total of 7,179 house and lots, which is a 11,140 unit houses short from the 18,319 target houses to be built in 2012. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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