Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario has vowed to provide low-cost housing projects to all Filipinos, serving with integrity and corrupt-free businesses.
Marking the first founding anniversary of the newly created Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on February 14, del Rosario said the department seeks to produce more affordable, livable and resilient housing units for Filipinos.
“When you say resilient, meaning, it needs to be durable and not a substandard type of housing unit. We will concentrate on that and maybe we can undertake other modalities based on the government required budget,” he told the Philippine News Agency in an interview recently.
He said part of the department’s strategy is to expand and enhance its networking with all of its stakeholders to ensure that the regulatory aspect, finance method, and its production will complement the desire of the government to give more financial assistance to those who need it.
At the forefront of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte’s housing program is the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), a line agency of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), tasked with implementing the government’s socialized housing program. Headed by its president, Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, SHFC grants low-interest long-term loans to the poorest of homeless Pinoys through its flagship project, Community Mortgage Program (CMP). At the 16th SHFC Founding Anniversary on January 24, 2020, held in Makati City, Del Rosario and Cabling announced that loan interest on socialized housing had been reduced from 6% to 2%.
“The rules and regulations and the policies must complement our desire to give more financial assistance,” del Rosario added, noting that the department considers housing projects as a need and right of all Filipinos.
He said the department’s responsibility is to ensure, assist, and support the people to realize their dreams in getting their own houses.
“I’m seeing that the key in housing production will be more on networking with private sectors, (so) there will an interplay with our networking system-that our regulatory aspect, our finance and production must be complimentary,” he added.
Del Rosario added that the department might enter joint-venture agreements and private-public partnerships (PPP) to enhance its delivery of more housing units at low prices.
He said the department might enter into a rental housing concept that will benefit Filipino families to pay lower lease-fee amounting from PHP1,000 to PHP1,500 which is “definitely much cheaper than the commercial rate of the house rental.”
Under Republic Act 11201 signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 14, 2019, the new department is responsible for establishing Housing One-Stop Processing Centers (HOPCs) in the regions to centralize the processing of housing-related documents.
The law cited the need for underprivileged and homeless Filipinos to have access to safe and affordable housing.
“The State shall, by law and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of housing and urban development which shall make available at affordable cost, decent housing, and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas,” the law stated.
Del Rosario said he was “given the disciplinary power to ensure that the personnel of the key shelter agencies are doing what is expected for them as professional employees on the housing sector.”
He added that under his watch, the department would raise the bar of integrity in the housing sector and set a standard in the ease of doing business.
“This is one key to eliminate corruption, to strictly observe the ease of doing business and I would not like to hear as I’ve told my officials, if I will be hearing complaints coming from the ground, I would like to assure them, as a friendly reminder, that I will investigate,” he said, adding that if someone is found guilty of corruption, a sanction will be strictly imposed.
“We are here to serve. We must serve with integrity and possible corruption-free department,” he said.
The DHSUD consolidates the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. (PNA)