Housing backlog to hit 5.7M this year

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The country’s large housing backlog is worsening, which could lead to a bigger problem in the future, Vice President and housing chief Leni Robredo said.

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At the Housing Solutions Congress organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) on Tuesday, Robredo, who also heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council (HUDCC), cited a study from the key shelter agency that projects the accumulated housing backlog from 2011 to 2016 to reach 5.7 million.

Robredo emphasized the urgency of addressing this demand, as it would take the construction of 2,602 housing units a day every day for the next six years to solve the backlog.

“If we divide the projected backlog of 5.7 million by the number of days in the six years that were given to us, you will find that we will need to build 2,602 homes per day in the next six years. And the clock is already ticking,” Robredo said.

The vice president noted that both the public and private sectors need to do their part and work together in order to meet the demand for housing.

“The housing crisis is indeed a ticking time bomb. The only way we can solve it is together,” Robredo said

In addition, Robredo urged the creation of a comprehensive road map that will be based on accurate baseline data, global best practices, public and private financing solutions and stakeholder consultations.

“Without the right data to guide us, we will be running blind,” the vice president stressed.

For the public sector’s part, Robredo noted that the cooperation of local government units is critical in coming up with the roadmap.

“We need an inventory of all government properties available for housing. We will need the cooperation of all local government units for this. We will need to revisit the calculation of 5.7 million families. How many are in Metro Manila, how many are in the countryside,” the vice president explained.

Also, there is a need to find the right model that can address the county’s housing needs.

“We are looking at the approaches used by Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. There are also innovations already in place in Quezon City, in San Juan, Valenzuela, that resulted from partnerships with the private sector and the local government,” Robredo said.

Robredo urged the private sector to adopt business models that addresses social needs, aside from profitability.
“For the private sector, now is the time to create business models that address social needs…you can create business models that make you rich, no longer at the expense of the poor but to help the poor,” the vice president said.

Moreover, in order to attract developers to venture into the socialized housing market, Robredo noted that the government aims to “shorten and sweeten” the processes involved in acquiring permits and licenses for these socialized housing projects.

“Very few developers find socialized housing attractive because the process is very long and very tedious. There are many things that can be simplified without reducing proper controls and setting aside guidelines,” Robredo noted.

Similarly, Robredo also noted the streamlining of processes in the key shelter agencies.

“We are looking at a one-stop-shop concept where they can go where they need to go in one place and much of the paperwork will be done by the shelter agencies themselves,”

“It is also imperative that we streamline the processes both in the demand and in the supply side,” Robredo added.

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