Prop­erty de­vel­op­ers seek higher bud­get for hous­ing

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS -

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.

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