Gov’t to focus on socialized housing projects – Binay

August 25, 2010

DAVAO CITY, Aug. 21 (PNA) — The government will further lower the interest rates of housing loans for socialized housing packages to allow more people to access housing loans, especially the informal sector at very affordable rate.

 Vice President Jejomar Binay, the country’s Housing czar, announced during the national conference of the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) on Friday at Grand Men Seng Hotel here that studies are ongoing to lower the interest rate to 3 percent.

He said current packages offered by the government housing agency of about P400,000 with monthly amortization of P2,300 is not a realistic package for the lower sector but this can be split to packages of P200,000 or P100,000 and with the lowered interest rate the amount for monthly payment could be at P350.

The amount, he said, will only be the cost for the house and the land will be sourced out through the local government units (LGUs) utilizing some of their idle properties through usufruct agreement.

Binay said in administering this kind of project, the developers can be given incentives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue in support to the lowering of cost of business operation.

He said the LGUs will identify the land and put in the roads and they will provide the financing for the construction of houses.

He admitted, however, that there are not enough funds in the government for socialized housing except that of Pag-IBIG Fund even as he said that because the Fund is already tax-exempt, the P2.5 billion savings could be used for projects under socialized housing.

Vice President Binay also addressed the luncheon General Membership Assembly of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCII) where he said the relationship between government and the private sector is both through cooperation and coordination.

He said business is a continual dealing with the future and they deal not only with communities but the customers and consumers.

“As head of HUDCC, I also ask you to consider investing in building of homes and we should not only build houses for families but homes for families where their bodies could rest, their spirit soar and find love and peace,” he said.

He said this dream could not be possible without the help of the local government units of finding areas where these projects can immediately take off.

“We need to sustain this confidence and we need to show this to the world,” he said. (PNA) scs/Digna D. Banzon/lvp

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Big demand for socialized housing, backlogs continue to grow in the country

August 21, 2010

“There is really a big demand for socialized housing and the backlogs continue to grow in the country’s housing business, according to the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP).

OSDHP press relation officer Santiago F. Ducay, however said they are hoping the new administration responds quickly to issues– citing for instance that new housing czar Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed to look into the possibility of lowering further interest rates to make housing more affordable.

Ducay said the current interest rates for socialized housing of a package of P400,000 is about six percent.

He said the current backlog by accumulation through the years is at 3.8 million and as the population grows at 2.8 percent about 900,000 new housing units are needed annually. Of the 900 thousand units, 70 percent of this is for socialized housing.

“If the government build 200,000 for socialized housing, the private sector match this with the same number or about 400,000, there’s still a backlog of 500,000,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ducay said their organization supports the call of President Simeon Benigno Aquino III to fight corruption. He said they respond to the challenges of the Aquino government in fleshing out and flushing out corruption in the construction agency.

Linda A. Tan, national president of OSHDP said they had been true to the call and in fact dropped one developer from their rooster for engaging in activities contrary to their principles of sound business operation.

Tan also heads RJ Lhinet Development Corporation, a builder of medium rise buildings and condominium in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Tan was in the city for a two-day housing convention which opened Thursday and ends Friday at the Grand Menseng. Tan said OSHDP polices its ranks and closely monitor their members.

The OSHDP, she said has to date 150 members. Before a developer is accepted, he has to pass a thorough screening and assessment by looking at one’s background and tract record.

Tan said Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia, House Committee Chair on Housing and Urban Development disclosed he is filing a bill so that the Social Security System will be compelled to implement 30 percent of its investible fund to be dedicated to housing as stipulated in its charter.

She said when this will materialize, there will be more funds for socialized housing and citing the statement of Congressman Valencia that because Pag-IBIG Fund is now tax exempt perhaps the savings of P2.5 billion could be used to fund socialized housing projects.

“It has been the clamor of our sector for the government for sustainable funds to be made available for socialized housing developers,” she said.

On the other hand, Ducay said Congressman Valencia is also supporting the proposal of the housing sector for the creation of the Department of Housing.

The creation of the housing department will upgrade the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to a department status.

“Right now processing of projects is quiet difficult as they deal with different shelter agencies. But if there will be a single department, transaction will be uniform with requirements and procedures,” he said.

The Land Use Law is equally important because developers will have concrete guide how and where to locate subdivisions especially so that lands in the provinces are mostly for agriculture and tourism.

In this aspect, Davao is a focused location city because it is ready with its city/municipal land use plan. All this specific concerns needed in the housing projects, will now be acted upon by the Department of Housing, the body that will regulate and issue policies related to housing.

The other concern that Tan raised is for socialized housing developers to be exempt of cash advances when utilities such as light and water will be introduced to the subdivision.

Tan said for the installation of power in the project site would cost them about P120,000 per post. If there will be more than 10 posts, the cost would be P1 million or more and the return of investment will take long because the refund will only be made when connections are tapped and the utility company starts to earn.

She said they do not expect overnight change but they are willing to cooperate with the government to polish and straighten out policies, so that socialized housing is acted upon and more poor people will have access to housing projects at cheaper cost. (PNA) LOR/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


VP Binay bares his vision and plans as Housing Czar …

August 1, 2010

www.pna.gov.ph
Manila Aug. 1 (PNA) – Vice President Jejomar Binay said he envisions providing Filipino families with quality homes and communities, not just mere houses and neighborhoods.“My vision for the housing sector is simple –to provide families not just with the infrastructure of a house, but the framework of a home; to build not just a neighborhood, but a real harmonious community,” the country’s housing czar said.

Binay, who was appointed by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III as the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), disclosed his plans before members of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA).

With this, he aims to gain the support and empower the local government units (LGUs), adding that it is important for them to have an active role in the planning and implementation of housing programs.

“They [LGUs] are in the best position to provide the inputs we need in ensuring that our housing programs truly address the housing needs in the locality. They are also in the best position to help us achieve our vision,” Binay said.

The Vice President also plans to develop an investment-friendly business climate for the housing sector, as he targets to solicit support and build strong partnership with the private sector in the implementation of localized housing projects for the poor.

“I will likewise seek to simplify the procedures and reduce red tape in the processing of housing loans, registration and issuance of land titles, and housing permits both at the national and local levels; give incentives to participating private donors; and rationalize the housing finance and subsidy framework for housing and urban development,” he said adding that this was consistent with President Aquino’s promise of a government responsive to the needs of ordinary Filipinos.

Binay said he also intends to strengthen the implementation of the asset reform program involving the utilization of idle and underutilized government lands, and to require the online publication of all projects and loans granted by the key shelter agencies.

“We can and we will succeed in building homes, and not just houses; in providing lasting opportunities, instead of temporary dole-outs; and transforming our seemingly forgotten human resources into productive members of the society,” he added.

Recently, Binay tapped the services of actor Robin Padilla to serve as his housing “ambassador” in Mindanao.

Binay said Padilla’s Muslim background will help the HUDCC address the housing shortage in Muslim communities.

Aside from the HUDCC post, Binay also asked Padilla to help promote membership in the Pag-Ibig Fund, especially among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). (PNA)
LDV/CLTC


Davao City, an area for smoke-free studies of foreign countries

July 26, 2010

After the successful implementation of anti-smoking in Davao City, the city became the site for study-tour of foreign nationals that are starting to implement the ban of smoking in their countries.
Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, co-chair, Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City said they had been receiving visitors from other countries in order to observe the implementation of the ban of smoking in the city with their recent visitors from Hanoi, Vietnam and from Thailand.

She said scheduled to visit the city are groups from Malaysia and Indonesia and they are interested in the implementation of the program saying that they have package destination where they bring these foreign nationals to observe.

Mostly, she said are in restaurants, parks, malls and in areas that are often frequented by the public.

Given the success of implementing the Anti-Smoking Ordinance, Villareiz said they get to be invited to lecture or talk to gatherings abroad and in other parts of the country.

Villareiz attributed the success of the implementation to the concerted efforts of both private and government as well as the effective strategies they adopted based on the law provided under Republic Act 9211 and City Ordinance No. 043.

Other cities in the Philippines also has crafted their own laws namely San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, Sorsogon City, Umingan, Pangasinan, Amlan, Negros Oriental, Baguio City, Hagonoy, Bulacan, Legaspi, Albay, Malabon, San Carlos City, Tabaco City, Albay.

She said Baguio, San Carlos and San Jose have similar ordinances with Davao City while most of the cities and municipalities anti smoking ordinance followed the definition of Davao on enclosed places. The 17 cities in Metro Manila will be implementing RA 9211.

Villareiz stressed that under RA 9211 are some provisions that involves advertisements and promotions of cigarette products.

She said cigarette is a legal industry product but with prohibitions under the law they have to implement it just in the case of advertisements and promotions they already issued notices to stores displaying signages of their stores with cigarette markings.

“Definitely this is not allowed by law and some 35 stores were given notices to remove the signages,” she said.

Distribution of collateral like parasols and t-shirts are prohibited and for the public to be wearing or using them will also be reminded and when caught the next will be given sanctions and fine, she said.

Contrary to what other quarters noted, she said anti-smoking is not a hindrance to progress and tourism and definitely there is an increase in tourist arrivals in the city.

The other benefit of anti-smoking campaign is that it helps people increase their life span considering that they will be spared of suffering from respiratory illnesses when they do not smoke.

Citing statistics, she said three out of 10 Filipinos smoke or about 34 percent are smokers.

She also said the cases in Davao City posted a drop in the lung cancer mortality and morbidity rate from 113 deaths in 2008. It dropped to 38 in 2009.

Villareiz said the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored Tobacco and Poverty Study in the Philippines that was completed in 2006 revealed that among the poorest of the poor, 64 percent of their monthly expenditure is spent on food, while tobacco comprised 2.5 percent, bigger than clothing at 2.3 percent, education at 1.4 percent and health 0.9 percent.

The study also revealed that tobacco greatly contributes to poverty since tobacco users are at a high risk of falling ill or die prematurely of cancer, heart attacks, respiratory diseases or other tobacco-related diseases thus depriving families of much needed income and imposing burden on health care costs which are mainly “out-of-pocket” expenses.

Meanwhile, the anti-smoking campaign in Davao City started in 2002 and it already earned two international and one regional awards. One of the international awards was given by the World Health Organization in 2008 for its Anti-Smoking Ordinance.

Also last year, she said Davao City got a regional award from the South East Asia Tobacco Central Alliance for its extensive advocacy on anti-smoking.

The other international award will be given in February 2010 by the Global Smoke-Free Partnership (GSFP) Award for Governmental Body with Exemplary Leadership in Implementing Smoke Free Policies. Other countries that will be recognized together with Davao City are Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and India but these are on participation of non-government organization. (PNA)
LBV/PDB/lvp



Church, others hopeful of P-Noy’s campaign vs corruption

July 18, 2010

also posted @ www.pna.gov.ph
DAVAO CITY — After President Benigno Aquino III formally announced his agenda in governance during his inaugural speech on June 30, the Catholic Church on Sunday took note of the government’s move to curb corruption.

Fr. Gilbert Sataya, during the homily at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bangkal, Davao City, cited the call of Pres. Aquino’s administration to work on addressing the issue on corruption.

He likened the Gospel that “with the huge harvest, few came to do the task” to the call of the President, which he said was a big challenge to the Cabinet members.

While he urged the parishioners to bring the messages to as many people of taking part in the Church evangelizations of spreading the good words, he said everyone should take part in the task in making the Philippines a better country.

In a separate interview, taxi driver Epifanio Amihan said sa pagpaminaw naku sa mga gibatbat sa bagong President bahin sa pang gobiyerno sa iyang inagurasyon, dili naku isalig ning tanan sa iyaha kay maningkamot ko nga makatabang ko pananglitan sa pagsunod sa balaod sa trapiko (after listening to the President’s detailed agenda of his government, I will do my share of helping the government by way of following traffic rules).

“Mouyon ko sa pagpawala sa “wang wang” kay ang datu ug pobre pantay dapat nga mogamit sa karsada (I support the ban of sirens because there shoud be equal road access between the rich and the poor,” he said.

“Bahin sa korupsyon sa gobiyerno, dili ma ni mawala gyud pero kung kitang tanan motabang ilabina nang taga gobiyerno makuhaan gyud ni (with regards corruption, I don’t think this will be eradicated but if all of us will help especially those in government, I think this will be lessened),” he said.

Government worker Roger Martel of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Davao said that what the President said was a call for government personnel to work harder.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she was happy to hear the President stressing hard on tackling government corruption and for government workers to show more of their skills and talents as public servants.

President Aquino said not all in government were corrupt and for those who were performing well he said “panahon na nila ngayon na magpakitang gilas (it’s time for them to show their utmost abilities)”.

Duterte-Carpio, as part of her priorities as the new mayor of Davao City, started reviewing the performance of the city government workers and for those who lacks skills will be trained while they will offer retirement packages for those who would want to avail of the package although everyone will be assessed as to their performance.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) president Engr. Robert C. Quinto welcomed the President’s directive of transparency in dealing with the business sector.

He said this was a big boosts for the business community and for those prospective investors.

On the other hand, Philippine Constructors Association (PCA), Inc. president Levy Espiritu said he liked the President’s governance and he was firm and bold when he detailed his agenda during his inauguration speech.

Global Link chief executive officer Patrick Lawrence Tan said there was high optimism in the construction industry especially when President Aquino launched a call against corruption.

“The construction industry probably was the worst sector and hearing him said that the stakeholders are happy and with high optimism they are willing to support this government”.

He said this can be seen perhaps after three years but then they are happy to work in an environment where the leader is sincere in pushing for a better Philippines. (PNA)
RMA/Digna D. Banzon/lvp/rsm


Construction industry players to submit new scheme to gov’t for infra works

July 18, 2010

Also published @ www.pna.gov.ph
The construction industry players are working on a scheme which they could partner with the public sector in support to the government’s implementation of infrastructure projects.
 
Levy V. Espiritu, president of Philippine Constructors Association, Inc. (PCA) said the association’s proposal would be presented to President-elect Simeon Benigno Aquino III during the Construction Industry Congress in Manila next month.

He said that details of the mechanism were the results of group discussion among stakeholders in the different regions of the country since January this year.

He said the association was looking at a model that was used in the neighboring Asian countries where private and public collaborated through the Public and Private Partnership (PPP) program.

He said a roadmap of the construction industry, which hopes to spur development of the country for the next six to 10 years, would also be presented to the President.

Espiritu said the financial institutions like banks were willing to finance the identified projects, in collaboration with the government, with their P7 trillion deposits and special deposit account.

He said the locals can fund these projects and the Philippines, through the PPP, is more than capable to do the projects on their own and funded locally.

He said while the government needs infrastructure to the development of the regions, it is also appropriate to tap the private sector for project development.

Espiritu cited that in public education, the Department of Education (DepEd) still needs several school buildings but DepEd does not have the resources which the private sector can pitch in.

He also cited the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) as an example of a consortium where the PPP model has been applied.

In the PPP, the industry players collaborate with the government for the implementation of important projects.

He said they are optimistic that the new administration will consider the proposal as this will do away with sourcing out funds through loans.

He also said that when foreign funds come in, it would be 30 to 40 percent higher compared to projects funded locally, which is cheaper of about 40 percent and carries no risk.

Meanwhile, he said there is a boom in construction anywhere in the country as seen from the ongoing demand for housing units.

But, he said while there is demand for housing development, which he said is a multiplier effect in the construction business, homebuyers already shifted to their pattern of acquisition as they shifted to lifestyle buying.

He said developers now are not only building core houses but are already into semi-furnished units.

Manolito P. Madrasto, PCA executive officer, said buyers were now keen on items that were geared towards protecting the environment and these concerns were included in their advocacy of the Green Building.

He said the technologies are now into prioritizing environment protection. (PNA)
RMA/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


Today’s news — Revised zoning ordinance

October 20, 2008

Davao City is expected to have its revised Zoning Ordinance by the first quarter of 2009.

This was said by Majority Floor Leader Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City who also added that the Committee on Housing headed by Councilor Arnulfo Cabling and City Planning Head Engr. Ma. Luis Jacinto still have to come up with a decision on the complaint filed by Ma-a residents against real property developers Villar and Consunje who owns the high-end properties in the area.

The issue, he said was due to the complaint about development in the area which the residents said is without permit.

He said the ordinance already went to several adjustments and it is high time for the ordinance be reviewed.

Davao City‘s revised zoning ordinance was passed in 1996 and enacted in 2002. The zoning code regulates the use of the city’s land resources in the implementation of the Comprehensive Development Plan of Davao City. It is supposed to be updated every five years.

The updating of the Comprehensive Development Plan and Zonification Ordinance of Davao City is actually a priority project of the 15th City Council (2007-2008).

The purposes of the Revised Zoning Ordinance of 1996 capture this need for balance: to guide, control and regulate future growth and development of Davao City in accordance with its Comprehensive Development Plan; and to promote and protect the environment, health, sanitation, safety, peace, comfort, convenience and general welfare of the inhabitants in the locality.

Meanwhile Councilor Pilar Braga said that they deemed it proper that before development permit is granted they should get a clearance from the traffic management.

She said in the case of property development like malls, traffic plans are already done before the construction of the mall kaya late na. “We will review also the traffic ordinance,” she sai