TARGET: 1.4 million housing units for the informal settler families from 2017 to 2022

 The head of the government agency implementing the state’s socialized housing program is strongly backing the call of housing czar Secretary Eduardo del Rosario for a bigger budget for housing for the millions of homeless Filipinos.

Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, President of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), expressed the support as Del Rosario, Chairman of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), moaned that his department’s meager budget for 2021 would badly affect its housing programs especially for the millions of homeless and less privileged Filipinos.

During the House of Representatives budget hearing on the DHSUD budget on
Thursday, September 10, Del Rosario told lawmakers that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had only approved a budget of PHP3.68 billion for the agency next year, which is only 5.17 percent of its original proposed budget of PHP77 billion.

Cabling echoed del Rosario’s lament over the small budget approved by DBM, which could also affect the SHFC’s targets. The SHFC is one of the agencies under DHSUD, along with the National Housing Authority (NHA), Pag-IBIG and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp (NHMFC).

The SHFC extends low-interest, long-term housing loans, under its flagship project Community Mortgage Program (XMP), to homeless Filipinos through their duly-organized community or homeowners associations. In the priority list of SHFC are Informal Settler Families (ISF) living in risk areas like riverbanks and shorelines and those displaced by government or court-ordered demolition.

Amid the budget slash, del Rosario said the DHSUD is trying to meet its housing targets, noting that it is averaging around 200,000 housing units every year to accomplish 1.4 million housing units for the informal settler families from 2017 to 2022.

At the House hearing, several lawmakers backed Del Rosario’s call and sought an increase in the proposed budget of the DHSUD for 2021 to meet the people’s housing needs.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez pushed for an increase in the budget for the housing department, stressing that such is needed to solve the housing woes and give dignity to Filipinos.

“Let us correct this. We can never solve housing and give human dignity to our people if this is the kind of budget that we give,” Rodriguez said.

Cavite Rep. Strike Revilla also proposed to augment the funding for the department to provide permanent homes to more informal settler families.

“This representation strongly supports the proposed 2021 budget for the DHSUD at mariin ko ring hinihiling sa ating mga kasama dito ay kung maaari ay madagdagan ang budget nito (and I also strongly request that our colleagues would push for an increase in its budget),” he said. (with PNA report)

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