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SHFC OPINION: The right to adequate housing

A call for spatial and cultural adequacy in housing

payot 2By Atty. Junefe G. Payot

At the launching of the joint housing and livelihood project of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and the United Nations-Habitat (UN-Habitat) for families displaced by the conflicts in the Islamic City of Marawi, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) urged that we construct bigger housing units because in a clan-oriented culture like that of the Maranaos — where multiple families may share one house — the usual 20 to 25 square-meter area of government housing units would not suffice. The concern was also echoed by SHFC President Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, himself a long time advocate of the right to adequate housing.

Thus, UN-Habitat architects led by their Country Program Manager Christopher Rollo — together with representatives of the displaced families, traditional local leaders and the local government designed units with lofts, which resulted in a total floor area of more than 40 square meters per unit.
I fully agree that culture should always be considered in housing. And I would go even further to say it is about time we adopt a higher minimum floor area for all housing projects because such would be more attuned to the general Filipino culture, as will be illustrated later.
I would add too that housing for Muslim communities — like that for Maranaos — ought to strive for a housing finance that is consistent with Islamic principles. Aside from enhancing cultural adequacy, such effort would open the door to Islamic securitization (i.e. issuance of asset-back sukuk or shari’ah-compliant bonds), which could generate funds to build more communities.

Self-help efforts of Transformers to address inadequacy of government housing units

The inadequacy of public housing units in the Philippines is born by the study of architect Alonso Ayala, a development planner at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies of Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
His study in government resettlement site in the province of Laguna showed that after resettlement, the families who received housing units went on to incrementally extend their 20-square meter houses to as much as 72 square meters, doubling habitable space per person from around 4 square meters to 8 square meters. This phenomenon illustrates powerfully that, in many cases, the current small-sized housing units provided by the government need to be enlarged.
Ayala found that the extesions were made not only for physical comfort but also for cultural reasons such as to provide separate rooms for boys and girls, to make room for visiting relatives, and to add a “dirty kitchen.” Before my non-filipino friends could start imagining cockroaches crawling everywhere, a “dirty kitchen” is an exterior kitchen where all the cooking – and the gossiping!- happens. Other reasons for the extensions were economic in nature such as to put up a carpentry shop or sari-sari store.
Amusingly, these families who make changes on their units are called “transformers” in academic parlance. But unlike the very quick transformation of robots we see in sci-fi movies, theirs are incremental changes that happen gradually over the years, depending on their changing needs and financial situation. It is no less fantastic though, seeing how these families manage to improve their lives after resettlement as manifested in the transformation of their dwelling.
As Ayala eloquently puts it, the extensions enable the low-income transformers to “find their own way to a better quality of life and therefore fulfill their housing needs and aspirations to a greater degree than compared to the original situation.”
This phenomenon clearly urges us to rethink the size and the design of the housing units that the government currently provides. It also makes the case for participatory approach to housing in order to ensure that what families actually need and aspire to are incorporated in the building of their homes.


shfc children
The SHFC encourages families to design their own houses. Thus, those in highly urbanized cities, where residential land is scarce and expensive, are often inspired to include lofts in their design in order to increase habitable space in their small plots. In less urbanized areas, families may design their bungalow houses with larger floor areas and with sturdy foundations to allow for a second floor should they need to expand (“Nakaabang na” as hopeful community members like to put it). Consequently, SHFC has increased its load to enable families to build bigger housing units.
As for ensuring the cultural adequacy of our housing finance, we have sent staff abroad to learn about Islamic finance and have already procured the services of an Islamic housing finance expert. We also studied the opinion of respected Filipino banking law experts who say that it is already feasible to adopt Islamic finance even now because it does not contravene existing Philippines laws on contracts. Once we successfully roll out our Shari’ah-compliant housing projects, we can have the said accounts securitized and issue asset-backed sukuk bond, This can generate much-needed housing funds.
We must provide adequate housing. Doing so means safeguarding culture, aspirations and dignity —none of which you can put a price tag to. 

download(Atty. Junefe G. Payot is the Executive Vice President of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the key housing agency implementing the government’s social housing program. SHFC is headed by its President, Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling. HUDCC is now the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development also chaired by Sec. del Rosario)

Gov’t to start building infrastructure in Marawi

The construction of new public infrastructure in the most affected area (MAA) in Marawi City will start this December as the retrieval and disposal of unexploded bombs near completion, an official said in Cagayan de Oro City during a press briefing Thursday (Nov. 28).

Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, chairperson of both Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and Housing and Urban Coordinating Council, said the government can now begin to build infrastructures destroyed by the war in Marawi as the military’s clearing operation of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is already 95 percent complete.
marawi houses
MARAWI REHAB UPDATE. Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson Edgardo del Rosario (center) gives a briefer on the press in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday (Nov. 28, 2019). The official says the construction of new public infrastructures in the most affected area (MAA) of Marawi City will start this December after retrieval and disposal of unexploded bombs is almost complete. (PNA photo by Ercel Maandig)
The MAA or the ground zero, scene of the fiercest battles between the Islamic State-inspired militants and government forces, is already 99 percent cleared of IEDs, the official said.

“The heart and soul of Marawi rehabilitation as far as infrastructure is concerned is focused on the MAA,” Del Rosario said.

TFBM has set the timeframe for the construction of vital government infrastructures between December 2019 and March 2020.

To be given priority are school buildings with 200 classrooms, 24 barangay halls with a health center and a madrasa, 50-bed capacity hospital, and the Grand Padian market. The construction of the Marawi City Police and Bureau of Fire Protection headquarters will follow.

Most of these structures, De Leon said, will be built in the reclaimed 10-hectare land owned by the Marawi city government in the MAA.

He said the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi are all sourced from the national budget.

Del Rosario said the government is setting aside PHP3.5 billion from the 2020 budget for the construction of various public infrastructures.

Debris management and the creation of a masterplan–two important components of the Marawi infrastructure rehabilitation efforts–have already been completed, said Roderick Ibañez, National Housing Authority regional director for the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Ibañez said the groundbreaking for the sports complex in Marawi is expected to be held December, “to boost and show that the rehabilitation is moving forward”.

Meanwhile, Ibañez announced that there are already over a thousand of Marawi residents that applied for building permits to voluntarily rebuild their own houses and that over 200 households were already given building permits. (PNA)

DEL ROSARIO: In full blast soon, massive construction of houses for displaced Marawi siege victims

Housing project sparks new hope for Marawi residents

The construction site of the housing units for 100 families from Barangay West Dulay, who were displaced by the Marawi siege, broke ground on Thursday, October 17,  during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the capital’s liberation from Islamic State-inspired terrorists. 

The ceremony in Marawi City was part of the reporting event for the media organized by Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the Presidential Communications Operations Office, and the Philippine Information Agency to show the progress of the government’s rehabilitation and recovery efforts for those affected by the Battle of Marawi.

marawin shfc 4
HOUSING FOR MARAWI. Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Secretary Eduardo del Rosario (4th from left) and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra (5th from left) present the blueprint of the housing project that will benefit 1,500 families displaced by the Marawi siege. The construction site of the housing units for 100 families from Barangay West Dulay broke ground on Thursday (Oct. 17, 2019) during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the capital’s liberation from Islamic State-inspired terrorists. (Photo from PCOO)

Present during the event were TFBM chairperson and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario; Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra; Sultan Nasser Sampaco; Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC) president, lawyer Arnolfo Cabling; members of the SHFC Board of Directors Lyndon Catulong Sr. and Ronald Barcena; UN-Habitat project manager Warren Ubongen; and contractor Fiat-a Macarambon. 

In his speech, del Rosario gave a message of hope to thousands of the city’s internally displaced persons (IDPs). 

bangon marawi del rosario

“We are now ready to start with the construction of permanent housing units for the IDPs,” he told the beneficiaries, who have been living along the three-meter easement of the Agus River and Lake Lanao.

Aside from the 109 housing units that will be built in the coming months, del Rosario also noted that the TFBM secured 500 units of permanent shelters last week with the help of UN-Habitat and the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) headed by president lawyer Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling.

TF Bangon Marawi chief hails ‘faster’ clearing ops

MARAWI SHELTER. Officials of Task Force Bangon Marawi and the city government lead the groundbreaking of a relocation site for permanent shelters in Barangay West Dulay, Marawi City on Thursday’s (Oct. 17, 2019). The site is just one of the several relocation areas for displaced residents. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)


He said that with the 500 units already secured and the 109 units that broke ground, they already have 609 units, but still need to fast-track the rest of the 1,500 units promised by UN-Habitat, otherwise the remaining fund would be given back by March 31 next year.

Del Rosario said that by the end of October, they would declare the most affected area (MAA) in Marawi – the Ground Zero — cleared of bombs and hazards, having detected and recovered 625 explosives so far.

The NHA, he added, would declare the completion of damaged structures in the MAA by November 30. 

“By the first quarter of next year, most of the projects that will be constructed in the MAA will start. That is why we are certain of our timetable. We have been saying that we are on track and we will complete the rehabilitation of Marawi by December 2021,” del Rosario said. 

The processing of building permit applications for structures by residents in the MAA, began last July 30, allowing them to demolish the damaged houses from sectors 1 to 7 of the MAA and start architectural and engineering plans. 

The Subcommittee on Housing, headed by the HUDCC and NHA, is already monitoring the temporary shelter units at the Biyaya ng Pagbabago Sagonsongan Transitory Site, which will accommodate 1,052 displaced households for Areas 1 to 6. 

An additional 300 temporary shelter units in Area 8 are also under construction. At the Boganga Lakeview Shelter Site alone, 814 out of the 1,500 target housing units have been completed and 687 of these are already occupied by the displaced families. 

In Barangay Rorogagus, a total of 1,000 housing units are being constructed in two sites and another 1,000 units will also be constructed in Barangay Dulay. 

For the permanent housing, a total of 2,000 units will be constructed in Pamayandeg sa Ranaw Residences in barangays Kilala and Gadongan.

Apart from these housing units, the NHA will also construct two five-story low-rise buildings and one three-story multi-purpose building with a covered basketball court in Barangay Papandayan in Marawi.

“By December of 2021, I think 95 percent of the structures have been built. And Marawi City will be a prosperous city again, as promised by our President (Rodrigo Duterte),” del Rosario said. 

He also floated the swift passage of an executive order (EO) that seeks to make the NHA the lead agency in undertaking key rehabilitation projects in the war-torn capital of Lanao del Sur, saying that the EO would authorize the NHA to undertake the unified road networks, electrical and water utilities, and telecommunication projects.

Del Rosario said that one agency should integrate the budget “because if all the agencies involved will do the road networks and the procurement processes for the water, electricity, and telecommunications have not (been) finalized yet, then everything will diverge,” he said. 

Del Rosario said they were expecting the EO to be released this month as it has been with the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea since last month. 

It can be recalled that two years ago, the President announced the liberation of Marawi City after a gruelling five-month conflict to fend off Islamic State-inspired terrorists. 

Since then, the task force’s 56 member agencies have continuously worked together to bring the lives of the residents back to normal through efforts in several areas. 

For livelihood, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs of Marawi City have earned a total of PHP722,140 during the Bangon Marawi Trade Fair. On medical and health services, the Department of Health, in partnership with the World Health Organization – Philippines and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, targeted 134,441 children who were less than five years old across 39 municipalities in Lanao del Sur for its campaign against polio.

On relief services, the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed hygiene kits, family kits, food packs, and malongs to displaced families in transitory shelters. Taiwan, through the World Vision Philippines, also donated a total of 66,000 sacks of rice at 30 kg. per sack for the displaced families.

For skills training, the Department of Information and Communications Technology conducted a workshop for 100 IDP scholars on online freelancing jobs and the IT-BPM industry for the countryside, as well as a workshop for 25 IDP scholars on social media marketing and advertising technical training.

The residents and rebel returnees in Butig, Lanao del Sur have availed of the different government services and programs during the Kumpas Barangay: Information-Serbisyo Caravan from various government line agencies.

The Department of Public Works and Highways’ contractors, in charge of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Banggolo, Mapandi, and Pumping bridges, have also started reconstructing 18.97 km. of the Transcentral Roads, with funding from the Official Development Assistance of the government of Japan for the war-torn city. (PCOO)



The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the establishment of a regional office in Tacloban City of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to supervise its housing projects in the region.

The RDC also wants the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to set up a regional office in the city, among cities ravaged by Super-typhoon Yolanda.

The RDC is pushing for the setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.

Lawyer Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling is president of the SHFC, the lead agency implementing the government’s socialized housing program.

Lloyd Christopher Lao is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the HLURB,  the primary agency mandated to provide technical assistance in the preparation, review, and approval of Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of local government units.

Eastern Visayas’ highest policy-making body sent the resolutions approved on June 21, 2019, to the Office of the President and to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

But the RDC is still waiting for the central government’s response on the resolutions requesting for the establishment of regional offices of the two government agencies.

National Economic and Development Authority regional director Meylene Rosales, the RDC’s vice-chairperson, however said that they are upbeat on the positive response of the President Rodrigo Duterte and HUDCC chairman Eduardo del Rosario.

The RDC pushed for setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.

“There was an issue raised on the alleged irregular collection of fees from the beneficiaries of the government’s permanent housing project implemented through SHFC. The major factor behind this was the absence of their field office here in the region to monitor projects,” Rosales said in a report in the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Early this year, hundreds of housing beneficiaries have filed cases against a community housing organizer and her accomplices for overpricing of land acquisition, non-remittance of payments, and illegal collection of fees from recipients housing projects funded by SHFC.

Meanwhile, the absence of HLURB regional office has slowed down the pace of housing projects due to the lack of personnel and absence of authority to monitor and resolve issues and approve plans and applications for clearances and licenses.

“RDC members agreed that the presence of a fully staffed HLURB and SHFC offices in the region is important to regulate and monitor the implementation of remaining Yolanda resettlement projects and other ongoing and future housing projects,” Rosales said.

The HLURB regional office in this city has stopped its operation in 2010 after the merger of two field offices in Cebu and Tacloban due to the implementation of the Government Rationalization Program.

The agency has been maintaining a desk at the Government Service Insurance System office in this city to answer public queries. All transactions from the region have to go through the regional office in Cebu City.

All development and constructions on land of towns and cities without the CLUP will have to get the approval of the HLURB office in Cebu.

As of 2018, only 85 percent of the region’s 143 towns and cities have approved CLUPs.

YOLANDA HOUSING PROJECT. An unoccupied housing project in Carigara, Leyte meant for super typhoon Yolanda survivors. The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the establishment of two state-run agencies to supervise housing projects in the region, including resettlement sites for Yolanda victims.



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 convergence shfc

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.wxtch

del rosario 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 3 shfc

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.

pledge of convergence


BRAND-NEW SENATOR KOKO PIMENTEL is welcomed by Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario upon his arrival in Tagum Ciry from Mati, Davao Oriental where he took his oath of office before Governor Corazon Malanyaon. Accompanying Sen. Koko wasaccompanied by former Davao City councilor Wendel Avisado, now deputy chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) , in right photo below. Photos by NOEL BAGUIO




PUBLISHED IN THE DURIAN POST NO.74, August 15-21, 2011

Tribal housing project to rise in TALAINGOD, Davao del Norte

HUDCC Asec. Atty. Wendel Avisado (4th right) and Vice Gov. Victorio Suaybaguio, Jr., together with the recipients of the ‘Pabalay sa Lumad’ tribal housing project in Sitio Paiton, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Noel Baguio/PIO

HUDCC Asec. Atty. Wendel Avisado and party, together with Vice Gov. Victorio Suaybaguio, Jr and local officials applaud the entertaining dance number of tribal kids at the ‘Pabalay sa Lumad’ tribal housing project site in Sitio Paiton, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Noel Baguio/PIO           

            Hundreds of ethnic families belonging to the Langilan-Manobo Tribe will benefit from  “Pabalay sa Lumad”, the country’s first housing project for indigenous communities in Sitio Paiton, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

             Atty. Wendel Avisado, Deputy Secretary General of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) led a visiting team on the project site on July 26, 2011 to validate the project, which will soon be implemented by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

             Asec. Avisado said his visit was sanctioned by Vice President and HUDCC chair Jejomar C. Binay, pursuant to President Benigno Aquino III’s thrust of providing decent shelter to the indigenous people (IP).

             It can be recalled that the vice president, during his visit to Davao City last May, said the IPs would become “part and parcel” of his new program on housing that is being strengthened in partnership with the local government units (LGUs).

             Avisado said the Province of Davao del Norte was the LGU to submit a proposal for a tribal housing project. 

             He named the Paiton Tribal Housing Project as a pilot project among the many IP communities throughout the country.

            Avisado’s party included NHA-XI Regional Director Engr. Carol Angel, HUDCC Regional Coordinator Engr. Rose Taasan, HUDCC Policy Division Director Ronald Fontanillas, and Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio, Jr.

             The HUDCC official bared the design of the houses will conform to the culture and traditions of the Langilan tribe in the area. 

             Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario, the Pabalay as a component of  his human-centered development strategy, known as P.E.O.P.L.E.

             Some 111 tribal families will benefit from the project, which is expected to cost more than P6 million.

             Tribal Chieftain Datu Oscar Bug-ot allocated some five hectares within the ancestral domain for the project site, more than a kilometer away from Lake Paiton.

             The project was identified earlier as a relocation site for the Lumad families living near the lake, in order to reduce run-off to protect Lake Paiton, which is being developed by the province as a promising eco-tourism destination.

             Asec. Avisado and party were welcomed by jubilant Lumads garbed in colorful native attires, who showed their gratitude through a beautiful thanksgiving dance by the native children. NOEL BAGUIO