The Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) has a loaded bench of licensed environmental planners mapping up strategies and programs of the agency’s urban housing to ensure delivery of affordable shelter to the homeless poor in the urban centers.
SHFC, the government agency implementing the country’s socialized housing program, now has a total of six licensed environmental planners, including Vice President for Engineering Engr. Elsa Calimlim and OIC-Manager for Central Luzon Operations Engr. John Lee.
Also now in the roster of the SHFC environmental planners are Executive Vice President Atty. Jenefe Payot, OIC-Vice President for Special Projects Atty. Tristan Frederick Tresvalles and Account Specialists Mr. Junard Amba and Mr.Milkyzedeck Bien, who all passed the environmental planners licensure exam in June last year.
To update themselves on the latest laws, issuances, best practices and planning trends in the profession, SHFC environmental planners attended the 28th National Convention of the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP) held on November 7 to 9 last year at the Philippine Convention Center in Pasay.
Under the Environmental Planning Act of 2013 ( Republic Act No. 10587), environmental planning is equivalent to urban and regional planning, city planning and human settlements planning .
Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and chairperson of the SHFC Board was the convention’s keynote speaker.
He discussed the crucial role that DHSUD will play in the management of urbanization so that the country can reap urbanization benefits that would help in forging smart, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and communities, one of the main goals of urban or environmental planning.
According to Atty. Payot, who placed third in the June 2019 board exams for environmental planners, the three-day convention helped him in understanding the challenges of urbanization in the Philippines, particularly the central role of affordable housing to ensure inclusive urban development.
“From a social justice or rights discourse view, we need to ensure that everyone has access to adequate housing. By adequate, we mean housing that gives families—especially low-income earners — access to socio-economic as well as cultural and educational opportunities that are concentrated in our cities,” he explained.
Atty. Payot expressed confidence that shelter agencies like DHSUD and SHFC are now prepared for the important roles that they will play in urban development given the growing number of environmental or urban planners among their personnel, including those at the highest levels such as Assistant Secretary Melissa Aradanas and Directors Myles Rivera and Jeanette Cruz of the DHSUD.