MANILA – Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) has assured full support of the House for legislation to further strengthen the government’s social housing programs.
Benitez, vice chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, made the assurance Thursday, September 6, in his speech at the First Social Housing Convergence that gathered all government agencies and other stakeholders concerned with the implementation of the government’s socialized housing programs. The day-long Convergence, held at the Land Bank of the Philippines Plaza in Ermita in Manila and organized by the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), was the culminating event of the celebration of the 31st anniversary of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), the flagship program of the SHFC.
The Convergence was led by Secretary Eduardo del Rosario of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and SHFC President Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling. The special guest was Senator Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development.
Tolentino urged social housing stakeholders to join hands in building resilient houses using mass production techniques for the country to meet its target of providing homes to the country’s poor and those displaced by disasters like earthquake and typhoons. Cabling said the SHFC target is 500,000 houses by 2022. Assuring the SHFC and all other key shelter agencies of the House support for legislative initiatives on housing and urban development, Benitez highlighted House Bill 42 or the Local Government-Led In-Site, In-City, or Near-City Resettlement Act. The bill will ensure the sustainability and viability of resettlement sites through access to services and employment opportunities, Benitez said. Benitez also stressed the key role that SHFC will play in the implentation of Bill 42. “Let us work together on achieving your vision and the safety and security of the homeless in a house they can call their own, where opportunities will enable the people to rise from poverty,” said Benitez who represented Rep. Strike Revilla (Cavite, 2nd District), chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development. Lauding the CMP as a testament to the “bayanihan” spirit of the people, Benitez congratulated SHFC for its “invaluable work on providing flexible, affordable, innovative and responsive shelter solutions to low-income families especially the homeless. He also praised the agency for its partnership with national agencies, local governments and civil society organizations that resulted to the efficient implementation of the government’s socialized housing programs.