• Senators to augment P4.7B housing budget


    SENATORS on Tuesday expressed their intention to introduce amendments to the proposed 2018 budget bill to augment the P4.7 billion allotted to the housing sector.

    Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said the present budget for the housing sector is not enough.

    “My concern is that we currently have a housing backlog of 1.2 million and if we slash the budget of our housing agencies, our backlog will increase further,” Ejercito said.

    Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman Eduardo del Rosario told senators that the agency requested a budget of P68.8 billion for 2018 to be able to build 250,000 housing units.

    But only P4.7 billion was allotted for the sector, which is 70 percent lower than the HUDCC’s P15.3 billion budget this year.

    “The proposed 2018 budget amounting to P4.7 billion is expected to cause deep cuts in the housing programs being implemented by the shelter agencies,” del Rosario said.

    A huge chunk of the housing sector budget will go to the National Housing Authority — P2.235 billion. The Social Housing Finance Corp. will get P773.63.

    “I would suggest on the amendments that the budget for the housing agency should be multiyear obligation so that the housing programs would not be interrupted,” Ejercito, who heads the Senate committee on urban planning, housing and resettlement, said.

    “Probably the economic managers and the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) does not understand the real problem, especially the backlog that we want to address,” the senator added.

    Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri backed the plan to augment the budget for the housing sector.


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