• ECCP pushes for socialized housing

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    THE European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is bringing together key government agencies and the private sector in a bid to collectively seek solutions to the country’s housing backlog.

    ECCP Senior Advocacy Adviser Henry Schumacher said there is a need to develop a clear roadmap that focuses on socialized housing while also introducing the use of sustainable building materials in the country.

    “There is a clear need for affordable housing especially for the urban poor. All the stakeholders should ensure that the livelihood of this marginalized sector is not displaced when they are offered socialized housing options,” Schumacher said.

    At a one-day forum dubbed the Housing Solutions Congress to be held on August 16 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the ECCP will bring Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson Leni Robredo together with leading construction and housing companies in the country in one venue.

    “Socialized housing solutions should be possible without moving them out of the city, considering that Metro Manila is still where they are finding their jobs or livelihood. The government can look at some of the properties it owns and transform them into urban medium rise social housing projects,” Schumacher added.

    According to Schumacher, once there is a viable area for the transfer of the urban poor, construction companies can come in and provide adequate housing as part of their corporate social responsibility projects.

    “These companies have access to innovative and sustainable materials which can improve the quality and promote more livable socialized houses,” he said.

    Schumacher also said the ECCP sees vertical developments within Metro Manila and outlying areas that will not need huge land areas.

    He said relocation does not need to be done in provinces, since that would take up more lands that are primarily intended for agriculture.

    As the new housing chief, Robredo said they are seeing the need for the construction of an additional 5.5 million houses while also citing a 1.4-million housing backlog for those that need to be relocated.

    According to HUDCC data, government agencies such as National Housing Authority (NHA), Social Housing Finance Corp. and the Home Development Mutual Fund under Pag-IBIG have given housing assistance to 894,569 families valued at P300 billion from 2010 to 2015.

    Meanwhile, the Home Guaranty Corp., a government-owned and -controlled corporation reported P222-billion worth of housing loans have been extended by commercial banks, rural banks, and other financing companies for about 127,500 housing units.

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