Property developers seek higher budget for housing
Despite the growing backlog of some six million housing units nationwide, the housing sector has been getting reduced budget appropriations from the national government. At the Senate’s plenary debate for the 2019 budget, the sector is set to receive a measly P2.801 billion or a mere 0.075 percent of the total P3.757-trillion proposed budget.
By comparison, the budget for housing peaked at P33.4 billion in 2016, then went down to P15.3 billion in 2017 and further to P4.7 billion in 2018.
Thus, Marcelino Mendoza, national president of the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines, has proposed a paradigm shift in the treatment and classification of socialized housing, placing it in the same category as construction of public schools.
He said with migration to the cities unabated, this sector is strictly a government concern, with the government-mandated price ceilings posing a limitation to the participation of private sector production.
In a recent forum convened by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and UP Planades, NEDA director Mary Anne Darauay said housing is being considered as social infrastructure similar to construction of hospitals. With a paradigm shift, housing may even be considered as investment priority areas for public-private partnership and the government’s Build Build Build program.
Mendoza said while cash budgeting has been instituted by the Budget Department, the present budgeting process is largely determined by the previous years budget and its corresponding overspending, underspending and absorption capacities.
He said a change in perspective is thus necessary to make a dent on the huge housing backlog. Estimates show that a fresh funding of P100 billion a year would address the present gap on housing for informal settlers and P272 billion yearly if socialized housing for minimum wage earners is included.