WB project helps govt address housing concerns

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Conclusion

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The National Informal Settlements Upgrading Strategy (NISUS), a project collaboration with the World Bank (WB) to guide the national government and local governments in addressing the issue on informal settlers, was completed in July this year. The NISUS was prepared with the funding and technical support of the Cities Alliance and the WB.

The shelter plan aims at ensuring that Informal Settler Families (ISFs) will have access to basic social services such as schools, public markets, healthcare centers and livelihood opportunities in resettlement areas. It also guarantees that resettled families will have decent homes.

The NISUS is expected to help the government, people’s organizations, civil society and private sector groups stop the proliferation of informal settlements. The NISUS will be implemented through a 10-year program to prepare and implement informal settlements upgrading; urban renewal, housing finance and microfinance/community finance; policy and institutional reform; and capacity development.

The key shelter agencies, under the direction of the Vice President, have adopted risk management programs to ensure their continued viability, such as Capital Adequacy Framework, Credit Scoring, other risk reports and the KSAs’ respective Code of Good Governance and Code of Ethics.

The government housing corporations—Home Development Mutual Fund, National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, Home Guaranty Corporation, National Housing Authority and Socialized Housing Finance Corporation, have also formulated their respective Manuals of Corporate Governance and No Gift Policy that have been approved by their respective Governing Boards.

Pag-IBIG Fund, NHMFC, HGC and HLURB have also achieved ISO Certification.

Vice President Jejomar Binay directed the HUDCC to push for the redefinition of socialized housing under Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) to ensure the inclusion of vertical socialized housing. HUDCC also supported the creation of Local Housing Boards to provide LGUs more power, authority and responsibilities with regard to the provision of housing in their respective localities and provide the administrative machinery that can complement the efforts of shelter agencies to effect the full implementation of UDHA.

An investigation of Globe Asiatique owner Delfin Lee revealed that the businessman had used fake documents and ghost borrowers to secure about P7 billion in loans from Pag-IBIG. Lee, who had been charged with syndicated estafa, was apprehended by Task Force Tugis in March.

The Vice President gave assurances that such housing scams will no longer happen because of the reforms that were put in place, including the centralization of the approval of housing loan applications. The Fund will now have the final nod on all applications, taking the task from the developers.

Pag-IBIG is also piloting the use of fixed loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the amount of the loan divided by the appraised value of the property. This allows borrowers to avail of a bigger loanable amount compared to what they could get using the old system.

It is also seeking to improve the documentation of loan applications. To be implemented next year, the process will enable developers to do away with Contracts-to-Sell and Deeds of Assignment, and issue only the Deed of Absolute Sale.

The enhanced method will expedite the processing of housing loan applications, eliminate foreclosure proceedings, and save time and effort usually spent on such proceedings.

Under the Pag-IBIG reforms, new members may now apply for loans provided they were able to pay 24 months of lump-sum contribution.

Co-borrowers need not also be blood-related to the principal borrowers. Borrowers may also avail of “tacked loans,” which means that at most three borrowers may combine their gross monthly incomes to qualify for a bigger loanable amount.

Should a member die, his/her family will get a P20,000 death benefit from insurance aside from the P6,000 death benefit from Pag-IBIG and the insurance equivalent to the value of his/her housing loan.

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