As head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the government’s housing sector, the Vice President has directed all key shelter agencies to continue their efforts to address the housing backlog. As of October 2014, the housing sector has already provided homes to 222,789 low-income families. This is 63 percent higher than its target of 136,859 families for the year 2014.
Rehabilitation Efforts in Areas Hit by Calamity
The spate of calamities that hit various parts of the country over the last four years has resulted in massive damage to homes, with 1,593,896 houses either totally or partly damaged. The breakdown follows:
Among the most vulnerable sectors during times of calamity are the informal settler families, particularly those living along coastlines and major water tributaries.
The National Housing Authority provided permanent housing and housing materials assistance to 40,052 and 143,076 families, respectively, under its Emergency Housing Assistance Program for Calamity Victims, as shown below:
Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon to hit land, affected 205,128 families. The housing sector, as mandated by the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan consolidated by the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) and approved by the President, is tasked with providing these affected families with permanent housing by 2016.
The NHA has so far identified land for 160,000 (as of November 2014) to meet the housing requirement of Yolanda victims. The remaining 45,128 housing needs are in areas where there are no land titles, since almost entire municipalities are classified as forest lands. HUDCC and the National Housing Authority are coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in segregating the areas identified for resettlement, for issuance of any appropriate tenurial instrument.
The HUDCC also facilitated the drafting of a Joint Memorandum Circular entitled, “Adoption of Hazard Zone Classification in Areas Affected By Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and Providing the Guidelines for Activity Therein,” which was signed by concerned member agencies of the Resettlement Cluster, namely, DENR, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense (Office of Civil Defense). The joint circular aims to guide LGUs in regulating activities in hazard-prone areas based on the multi-hazard maps, which include implementation of early warning systems and mitigating measures and relocation of families from identified high hazard zones.
In addition to the permanent housing projects of NHA for Yolanda victims, the Home Development Mutual Fund also undertook projects for its members in Yolanda-affected areas. As of October 2014, five ongoing projects are set to benefit more than 1,600 Pag-IBIG members and their families.
Pag-IBIG also extended calamity loans to 95,359 members who were affected by Yolanda, amounting to about P1.16 billion.
The Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) has also undertaken four projects under the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) in Ormoc City that will benefit around 472 families affected by Yolanda. A one-year moratorium on amortizations was also provided for all typhoon-affected, existing CMP communities.
SHFC has also partnered with UN Habitat in implementation of pilot community-driven projects in 25 existing CMP project sites in Roxas City, Pan-ay, Capiz and Estancia, Iloilo, which will benefit 610 families. To date, 72 houses have been completed and turned over to beneficiaries, and the balance shall be completed by March 2015.
Housing for other sectors
The AFP/PNP Housing Program, started in 2011 and intended for personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) pursuant to Administrative Order 9 (S. 2011), is also well on its way.
From 2011 to October 2014, NHA completed the construction of 55,612 housing units nationwide with a corresponding investment of P11.809 billion.
Under Phase 1 of the program for soldiers and policemen in Metro Manila, a total of 24,298 units were constructed in the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.
Phases 2 and 2-A completed 30,567 units in other parts of the country, while Phase 3, with a target 20,000 units by end of 2014, just completed the construction of 747 units.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed between Pag-IBIG Fund and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), aimed at providing broadcasters their own homes through the Home Matching Program.
Under the MOU, Pag-IBIG will provide KBP with available corporate-wide housing inventories on a regular basis, which will serve as ready inventories for KBP Member Network-employees.
Pag-IBIG will also provide housing loan counseling to prospec-tive KBP Member Network-emplo-yee borrowers and assist in the initial housing loan documentation.
Also, it will approve housing loan applications of KBP Member Network-employees qualified under existing Pag-IBIG Fund policies and guidelines and enter into a Collection Servicing Agreement between Pag-IBIG Fund and KBP Member Networks for the collection of the monthly amortization and payment of loans of the beneficiaries.
It will also provide the KBP with other home financing schemes subject to the existing guidelines of Pag-IBIG Fund.
Pag-IBIG has also entered into similar agreements with other sectors such as transport groups, teachers, employers and local government units.
The government is now also in the process of amending the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on housing cooperatives to strengthen the implementation of cooperative housing programs in the country.
“We are now in the process of amending the IRR on housing cooperatives, wherein the key shelter agencies and government financial institutions are enjoined to craft common guidelines for the implementation of cooperative housing programs and to create special loan windows that will cater exclusively to housing cooperatives,” the Vice President said during the First Cooperative Housing Summit in Quezon City.
“This IRR will also mandate government agencies to provide technical assistance and capacity building to housing cooperatives, and will also provide for conflict resolution mechanisms,” he added.
Aside from amending the IRR, Binay said the housing sector is also taking “several compelling directions” to ensure the via-bility and sustainability of housing cooperatives.
“First, we have to ensure that the concept of cooperative housing is harmonized with our existing housing programs in the sector. It is important to have agreements to adapt the housing cooperatives as a viable method of producing shelter, especially since they are already organized and could be made more capable through the key shelter agencies’ projects and programs,” he said.
The Vice President added that the housing agencies should also continue to make financing available to cooperatives through regular programs or through a special loan window.
“In addition, we shall find a way to make the processing of requirements less stringent and more efficient and make it easier for housing cooperatives to engage in housing programs especially for socialized housing,” the housing czar said.
To be continued