With the incoming administration, real estate industry leaders expressed their hope that the country’s housing backlog now affecting some 6.7 million poor families will be given a high priority under the leadership of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.
Lauding his overwhelming victory at the recent polls, the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) led by its national chairman Charlie A. V. Gorayeb and national president Noel Toti M. Cariño said that the industry expects such housing concern will be included in the incoming government’s agenda.
According to the Gorayeb, homelessness has continued to be a perennial problem in the country despite the adoption of the constitutional mandate for an urban land reform and housing program for the underprivileged 35 years ago.
“Myriad of problems besetting the housing effort have remained unresolved, the major ones being lack of affordable and effective homebuyer financing mechanisms that targeted the truly underprivileged, inaccessibility of land, over-regulation and bottlenecks in the licensing and permitting processes for land and housing development, especially at the local government level,” Gorayeb said.
The housing sector expects a cohesive, concrete and well-targeted approach towards a lasting solution, as the incoming President’s forebears had pursued in the past, he noted.
“The holistic concept of human settlements and the proposition that shelter is one of the 11 basic needs of man were first adopted in the country during the time of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.,” the CREBA head cited.
“It was also during this time that the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Pag-IBIG Fund and the secondary mortgage market system were created, and landmark legislations such as the Social Housing Law (Batas Pambansa 220) and Subdivision Buyers Protective Decree (PD 957) were promulgated,” he added.
Gorayeb said these developments spurred a growth momentum for the housing sector under the auspices of the then Ministry of Human Settlements led by former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos.
At present, the country’s umbrella group of housing and real estate industry stakeholders are finalizing legislative proposals for comprehensive programs on public housing and homebuyer financing assistance as part of its five-point housing agenda targeting to produce 500,000 units annually or a total of 10 million homes in 20 years.
Cariño, on the other hand, pointed out that housing the underprivileged is not only a social and moral obligation for government, but also an economic responsibility, since housing activity catalyzes business opportunities in dozens of downstream industries.
“No doubt President Marcos’ newly appointed economic team of illustrious experts are well aware of this, and thus we are hopeful they will be supportive once they have studied our recommendations,” said the CREBA national president.
“If our country’s economy is to recover speedily from the Covid devastation, to our mind, a truly meaningful, mass-scale public housing program should be the administration’s centerpiece, given housing’s unparalleled capital-intensive as well as economic, tax and labor multiplier effects,” he added.