SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his support for the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).
In his manifestation during a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday, Go said the proposed budget for the DHSUD and its attached agencies would be a big help for homeless and less fortunate Filipinos.
Citing the Yolanda housing project, which was left unfinished, Go urged the DHSUD and concerned agencies to ensure that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City would not suffer the same fate.
“We all know what happened in the Yolanda Rehabilitation before and it has never been the style of President Duterte to leave projects undone and without any use for the benefit of the Filipino people. Ayaw po natin mag-iwan ng mga white elephant (We do not want to leave “white elephants). This should not happen again. I am certain Secretary Ed will not allow it,” Go said, referring to DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario.|
He reminded the implementing agencies involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi that the Duterte administration does not want to see unfinished projects or see people blaming each other for shortcomings.
According to data from the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute, the country’s housing demand is estimated to grow to more than 6.57 million units from 2017 to 2022 and further rise to 22.6 million units by the end of 2040.
The informal settler population also continues to increase. There are nearly 2 million informal settler families as of 2019.
Last year, Go filed Senate Bill (SB) 203, or the “National Housing Development, Production and Financing (NHDPF) Bill,” which aims to institutionalize a program to address the growing housing needs by generating and mobilizing funds, and encouraging public and private sector participation.
The bill seeks continuous funding support for the NHDPF program beyond the Duterte administration. The Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement had its first hearing on the proposal last year.
Go also said many Filipinos want to return to their home provinces after the Covid-19 pandemic. As proponent of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, Go said the NHDPF bill would complement the housing component over the medium to long term as returning residents starting life anew need sufficient housing options.
BP2 is a long-term plan of the government to decongest Metro Manila and spur countryside development.
At the height of more stringent quarantine measures, the program’s initial rollouts were suspended to give way to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to prioritize Hatid Tulong, which helps transport locally stranded individuals or LSIs back to their provinces.
Under the NHDPF, the National Housing Authority will be the lead agency in developing various housing programs for the bottom 30 percent of the population. Among the programs are resettlement housing programs for low-salaried government employees, settlements upgrading calamity victims and land banking.