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Bigger housing budget pushed

Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star

October 10, 2021 | 12:00am

In a recent budget hearing at the Senate, lawmakers agreed that the P6.39-billion 2022 budget allocation for the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and its attached agencies should be raised.

Philstar.com / File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers are calling for a budget increase for the country’s housing sector to ensure that more Filipinos will have decent and affordable homes while ensuring a significant contribution to economic recovery.

In a recent budget hearing at the Senate, lawmakers agreed that the P6.39-billion 2022 budget allocation for the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and its attached agencies should be raised.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said funding for the sector needs to be increased to fulfill its mandate of providing affordable housing to Filipinos especially to the underprivileged.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said that the budget allocation for the housing sector is “grossly inadequate.”

In fact, DHSUD proposed a budget of P76 billion for 2022, but the Department of Budget and Management only recommended the P6.39-billion allotment.

Over the past decade, the housing sector has been getting less than a percent of the total national budget.

Hontiveros said the budget increase would allow the agency to enforce and carry out regulations and programs meant to benefit Filipinos, particularly the urban poor.

Housing chief Eduardo del Rosario argued that the country’s housing need currently stands at 6.5 million nationwide and would likely soar by next year, thus the need to increase the government’s budget allocation.

DHSUD is also advocating for the passage of the National Housing Production and Development Financing Act, which will ensure a P50-billion annual appropriation for the next 20 years to address the country’s rising housing need and promote public housing development.

Del Rosario maintained that the housing sector is an economic pump-primer because of its ties with 80 industries, as well as its capacity to provide livelihood to millions of Filipinos.

“For us in the housing sector, we consider shelter as a right of every Filipino family and it is our responsibility that low income families are capacitated to realize their dream of homeownership,” he said.

DHSUD has finalized the 20-year national housing roadmap and the formation of a task force to run after real estate scammers.

Since 2016, DHSUD and its attached agencies were able to attain an 84 percent accomplishment rate for housing production target under the Philippine Development Plan.

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