“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