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


Homebuilder offers high-end living @ affordable rates

August 4, 2010

by Prix D. Banzon
Davao City  — The Chula Vista Residences is now ready to accept buyers wanting to experience high-end living with acquisition cost at affordable rate.

Over the weekend was also the inauguration of its Grand Entrance Gate and Guardhouse at Cabantian, Buhangin, Davao City where the ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Pag-IBIG Fund vice president for Southern Mindanao operations Jose W. Banzon, Jr. and Hemeni Land Corporation (HLC) vice pesident and chief operations officer Andrea Leah V. Romero with HLC officer-in-charge Abigail Tao and Pag-IBIG Davao branch manager Rodrigo Suemith.

The project consists of 430 house and lot packages in an 8.5 hectares property where it is equipped with amenities like club house, swimming pool, sports facilities and parks and playgrounds.

Romero in her briefing said it also has concrete roads and excellent drainage system with perimeter fence and 24-hour guarded gates. Supply of water and power is excellent tapping both the Davao City Water District and Davao Light and Power Company, Inc. processing plants and others businesses.

She said they have designed seven model houses of either bungalow type and two-floor housing units for the buyers to choose from depending on their need.

“We do not impose on them and it’s always the buyer’s choice considering that our aim is to build a community where families could experience the vibrant and rich scenery of the place,” she said.

She said their company has been proactive in all its design features to give homeowners an ideal living environment.

Romero said the Chula Vista is intended for the middle income group who has the capacity to acquire property estimated to cost at close to two million pesos for the house and lot package.

With their initial offering she said about 40 percent of the site already has confirmed reservations of mix buyers and a good number of them are overseas Filipino workers.

“We also noticed that 80 percent of those who placed inquiries with us are Pag-IBIG Fund members who are interested to acquire property through the government financial institutions,” she said.

Pag-IBIG Fund offers among others house and lot package with a much lower interest rates based on the following bracket, over P1 million to P1.25 million at 9.5 percent interest rate, over P1.25 million to P2 million at 10.5 percent and over P2 million to P3 million at 11.5 percent.

Maximum amortization period of 30 years for a package of P1 million carries a monthly amortization of P7,689.13, P1.25 million at P10,510, P2 million, P18,294.79 and P3 million at P29,708.

Romero said they noticed that more Pag-IBIG Fund members are interested especially with the lowering of interest rates of real estate loan with the Fund.

Meanwhile Romero said they also partner with private banks like Banco de Oro and they intend to team up with Metrobank and Union Bank.

Chula Vista Residences is developed by HLC Group which is backed by over 25 years of experience and numerous successful housing projects and real property developments in Davao City, Tagum City, Panabo City, Digos City, Butuan City, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.

Like the other developers, HLC also caters to buyers from out-of-town cities and provinces within Mindanao.

She said home buyers would prefer their locations nearer to their place of work and these are also the market that they cater. Transportation cost is also a big portion of the day to day expense of the workers that is why they want to cut on travel from home to work.

As this developed she said their company is working on a low cost housing project within a 40 hectares property at the northern portion of the city in Malagamot, Panacan, Davao City.

The HLC Group is optimistic of the real property business this year that matches with the government planners’ projection that in Davao City real estate will still be the driving businesses in the economy this year. (PDB)

Real estate developers start green campaign in Davao City

July 27, 2010

 Developers of building structures and subdivisions in Davao City embark on the Davao Green campaign in support to the environment protection program of the government.

Carlos Vargas of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA) and coordinator of the Davao Green Campaign said their advocacy will focus on three concerns namely green development, green energy and green technology.

He admitted that developers in this city have yet to incorporate the Green Building and Green Architecture even as they have sought the help of the Davao City government to work on projects that would showcase their green campaign.

Vargas said they are thinking of setting up an area in Barangay Mintal here where they will showcase homes and locations that would follow everything related to their green campaign.

Green building, he said, is a bit expensive but this would turn out cost effective in the future.

“There are buyers of homes already looking at this concept and in fact some are interested and willing to follow environment friendly designs,” he said.

Green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, as defined by Wikipedia is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from sitting of design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability and comfort.

Vargas said they already submitted a proposal to the city government for the mass transportation that will play to the different working areas here from their respective communities.

In this way, he said the number of vehicles will be reduced thus pollutions from cars may be reduced. He said they are eyeing a space in the downtown area where they could build a medium rise building for low cost occupancy with an estimated cost of P500,000 per unit.

He said locating residential units within the area of work would also be cost effective. The downtown area project is a consortium of the CREBA, he said adding this could be a start as well as support to their green campaign here. He said they are in constant talks with other CREBA associations in our cities of the country for them to get ideas and techniques on how to efficiently implement the green campaign as well as sustain their advocacy. (PNA) LDV/PDB/lvp

Mindanao farmers eye int’l market

July 24, 2010

(This photo from Wikimedia Commons … thank you)

Some 25,000 farmers in Mindanao will be equipped with skills and new technologies to produce high-quality cacao beans that are acceptable to the international market. Party of Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA)–a private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth — will use the proceeds of the US$ 5.4 million funds awarded to it by the US Department of Agriculture in transfering the skills and new technologies to cacao farmers.

Nic K. Richards, ACDI/VOCA chief, said during the recent launching of CoCoPAL Integrated Farming System Project here that the amount granted to the project would be monetized to produce 13,200 metric tons of high-quality cocao beans. Richards said they will use the proceeds over a three-year period to improve the capacity of smallholder farmers in targeted Mindanao provinces.

The project was dubbed as CoCoPal, deficting cocoa, coconut and the Palayamanan concept of rice-based diversified farming. It hopes to improve the income and food security of the farmers including a total of 15,000 indirect beneficiaries.

Richards said that initially, the project targeted eight provinces and two cities from Western Mindanao and Southern Mindanao namely Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga City, Basilan, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao City and Compostela Valley Province.

He said the demand for cacao was high as developed countries like Europe and the US were looking at Southeast Asia for sourcing their supply.

Most ot these countries source out their beans supply of 250,000 tons annually from Africa. But the risk of having a steady supply is highly vulnerable to political instability, drought and expensive freight cost, compared to the Philippines where shipping cost could be lower than in other African countries.

Shipping cost in Africa could reach about US$ 100 per ton of beans. He said the concept here is to train the farmers on good production and processing techniques and link them to a value chain approach and become micro entrepreneurs. Under the project, there will be 250 trained CoCoPal extension facilitators assisting the farmers.

There will also be 75 Village Technology and Extension Farms (VTEF), a one stop innovative learning sites to be managed by the different farmer-groups.

 The project will also include the putting in of 150 post harvest facilities around Mindanao from small to medium- scale such as bamboo-type solar dryer to kiln dryer and the semi-industrial using new technology and innovation.

Richards said the organization had similar project here in 2006 and the farmer-participants were already shipping cacao beans to the international market. In the last six months, the farmers posted a first shipment of 100 tons of quality cacao beans from farms in Calinan, Davao City and San Isidro, Davao Oriental.

Richards also said the organization will link the farmers to the market of companies that have big demand for cacao. Meanwhile, Richards said the other project of ACDI/VOCA is the Sustainable Cocoa Enterprise Solution for Smallholders (SUCCESS).

He said Alliance Philippines Project Phase II is also a project of ACDI/VOCA that also received funding support from the USDA.

It is in partnership with the Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil), World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and MARS, Incorporated, a worldwide manufacturer of confectionery, pet food and other food products.

Fay Fay Choo, commercial manager of MARS Inc. said the company is looking at the Philippine production of 100,000 metric tons of cacao beans in 2020 valued at US$ 300 million.

“We are optimistic that the Philippines can deliver that is why we did not hesitate to set up the MARs Cocoa Development Center in partnership with the Sunset Farms in Malagos, Calinan, Davao City,” she said.

She said MARS is a US$ 28-billion business that operates in six basic segments, including chocolate. The company has 65,000 associates in over 250 locations with 135 factories in 68 countries worldwide, she said.

“Our headquarter is in McLean, Virginia, USA and our chocolate brands are M&M’s, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way, Twix and Bountry,” she said. For Bountry, she said we see a huge growth potential including the desiccated coconut, which is an important ingredient for this production aside from cocoa.

The Philippines, she said, could tap this and see a year- on-year growth of two to three percent. “I know the Philippines can deliver total quality beans to the world market because it has good planting material, great soil and skilled farmers. When cacao is properly nurtured it produces aroma and there is premium in the aroma,” she said. (PNA) RMA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/lvp

US$47.1-M processing plant up soon in Davao Sur

July 22, 2010

STA. CRUZ, Davao del Sur (PNA) — The CJ Toyota Philippines, Inc. is putting up a processing plant in Barangay Darong, Sta. Cruz, here with an estimated cost of 47.1 million U.S. dollars for the production of xylose, a natural sweetener derived from coconut shells.The company said the product is mainly produced as raw material for xylitol which is known to be one of the major functional sweeteners used in the production of gum. It has the capacity to produce 15,000 metric tons of xylose per year.

The produce will be exported to various markets in Korea, Japan, and Europe. The project is expected to finish by January 2011.

Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, in his message during the recent ground breaking ceremony, said the investment of CJ Toyota Philippines, Inc. in Sta. Cruz town is a welcome development for the entire province of Davao del Sur, saying that they need more income for their people, more jobs and more utilization of their resources.

Korean Ambassador Choi Joong Kyung was also present during the event.

“I have always believed that the best possible partnership between Filipinos and Koreans is in (the agriculture) sector where the Philippines has a big potential. The combination produced by Korea’s technical artistry with the Philippines’ natural environment and skilled manpower will produce pioneering results,” Choi said.

CJ TPI is made up of four partner companies which CJ President Kim Jin Soo tagged as a “dream team”.

CJ Cheiljedang Corporation, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Binggrae Co., Ltd., and the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR), the only local company among the four.

“I’m confident that all the elements [of the four companies] will be put together in one bowl to generate one of the strongest players in this business world,” Kim said.

Also among the dignitaries who graced the ceremonies were Davao del Sur Congressman Marc Cagas and Mayor Joel Ray Lopez.

The executives of the four companies were led by their respective heads Toyota Tsusho Corporation Managing Director Makoto Hyodo, Binggrae President Lee Kun Young, and ANFLOCOR Chairman Don Antonio O. Floirendo Sr.

Sta. Cruz town is the industrial hub of the province where many foreign and local investments operate, among them the San Miguel Brewery plant that is also located in barangay Darong. It is also the site of Franklin Bakers Company, a plant that produces dessicated, processed and value added coconut products for export to the US. (PNA)

DTI Davao eyes development of Sasa Wharf as key tourism destination

July 22, 2010

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao is looking at developing the Sasa Wharf as key tourism destination in the region.Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz said Sasa Wharf was one of the areas in the city where tourists and businessmen were taking banca rides in going to the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; and Mati City in Davao Oriental.

Cruz said DTI also planned to put up a port of international standards in Samal as part of the tourism corridor being developed in the Davao Region.

“What we are looking at is the establishment of a gantry crane and a passenger terminal that will be at par with international standards,” she said.

A fast craft now traverses the route between Davao City and the town of Lupon, Davao Oriental, shortening the travel time between the two destinations to one hour from a previous three-hour travel time.

“This is in line with our bid to showcase Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) as a single window for tourism,” Cruz said.

She said negotiations with the management of Ekran Berhad wre in its final stage, where visitors from all over Asia were expected to converge in the region once the five-star casino resort re-opens its doors. (PNA)