PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed a joint resolution allowing the National Housing Authority (NHA) to award the unoccupied housing units of uniformed personnel to other qualified beneficiaries.
Duterte signed Joint Resolution 2 approved by the Senate and House of Representatives on May 9, but the documents were released to the media only yesterday.
Low-salaried members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) were given housing units from the NHA.
According to the resolution, the NHA will have the power to distribute “unawarded housing units, awarded housing units that are not surrendered by their respective awardees and housing units whose respective awards were cancelled by reason of default in the payment of amortization” to the other qualified beneficiaries.
“The housing need faced by the country is too huge to be ignored and it will, without doubt, serve public good and welfare if the aforestated housing units in the AFP/PNP/BFP/BJMP/BuCor Housing Projects are awarded by the NHA to other low-salaried government employees and their qualified beneficiaries, giving priority to those belonging to the lowest 30 percent of the urban income-earners,” the resolution read.
“Many Filipinos are in need of housing and these include other low-salaried government employees like public school teachers, employees of the city or municipality that has jurisdiction over the housing project, barangay officials and employees, the informal settlers in the area where the project is located and other underprivileged and homeless families in urban centers and in areas affected by government infrastructure and developmental projects who all deserve a roof over their heads,” it added.
Based on data from the Department of Budget and Management, P20.8 billion was released for the implementation of the housing projects for the uniformed personnel, with a target of 74,195 housing units as of March 31, 2017.
However, the Commission on Audit reported that only 62,472 housing units were completed and only 8,837 were occupied.
“The low occupancy rate of the completed housing units by their intended beneficiaries is a clear indication of a failed program in the face of the magnitude of the need for housing,” the resolution added.
Duterte also ordered the NHA board to convene within 60 days to formulate the rules and regulations needed to ensure the efficient awarding of the housing units.