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Over 3 million housing units are needed to be built for poor and homeless Filipinos for the period 2012 to 2030.

It never gets old. The country’s massive socialized housing backlog remains a problem that has plagued administrations to this day.

What’s the current state of socialized housing? Has situation at least improved?

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According to a 2015 presentation by the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA) in cooperation with the Center for Research and Communication, over 3 million housing units are needed to be built for poor and homeless Filipinos for the period 2012 to 2030.

Over the decades, a number of laws had been enacted to help address the problem.

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In Republic Act. (RA) No. 7279, the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) of 1992, also known as the Lina Law, socialized housing refers to housing programs and projects covering houses and lots or lots only undertaken by the government or the private sector for underprivileged and homeless citizens, which shall include sites and services development, long-term financing, liberalized terms on interest payments.

A beneficiary for the program must be a Filipino citizen, an underprivileged and homeless citizen, must not own any real property, and must not be a professional squatter or a member of squatting syndicates.

Local government units are tasked to provide socialized housing to their constituents.

Socialized housing by the private sector

Based on its provision to have “balanced housing development,” developers of proposed subdivision projects are tasked to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least 20 percent of the total subdivision area or cost at the option of the developer within the same city or municipality.

Recent amendments to UDHA effective August 2016 now require developers of condominium units to also develop socialized housing projects.

According to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the maximum selling price for a socialized house is P400,000 for vertical developments (like condominiums) and P450,000 for horizontal development (house and lot, row houses).

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According to the SHDA presentation, the demand for socialized housing in 2001 to 2011 was 1.14 million units but the supply stood at 479,765 giving a deficit or backlog of 663,283 units.

For the period 2012 to 2030, 1.45 million units are needed for the housing needs of those who can’t afford (and would therefore need subsidy) and 1.58 million for socialized housing or a total of 3.03 million units.

In 2017, HLURB approved licenses to sell 126 socialized and compliance housing projects, which consisted of 51,284 house and lot units, 5,973 lots and 31 condominium units. It was down from 187 projects in 2016 and 169 projects in 2015.

Subsidized housing by the government

Among the socialized housing projects of the government are the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the Social Housing Finance Corp. and the housing program for soldiers and policemen and for informal settlers by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Housing Project is a five-year flagship project of the NHA that started in 2011, to address the housing needs of uniformed personnel with low income.

Each two-storey unit costs P140,000 and has a lot area of 40 sqm and a floor area of 22 sqm.

Each beneficiary pays a monthly amortization of P200 a month for the first five years and the remaining 30 years of payment will be computed with a compounded interest method to produce equally affordable amortization ranging from P400 to P800, NHA said.

The PNP and AFP housing projects were to be done in four phases in 90 sites across the country. A total of 57,328 housing units have been completed as of June 25, 2015.

A 2010 report says that Metro Manila was home to some 2.8 million informal settlers or about 556,526 families. Among the housing programs of the NHA and the SHFC were to build resettlement projects for informal settler families (ISFs) living along danger areas in Metro Manila.

The following are some of the 17 low-rise buildings built by the NHA for ISFs within Metro Manila from 2010 to 2015:

San Juan project phase 1 in San Juan City (348 units);

Tala housing project in Caloocan City (900 units);

Camarin Residences in Caloocan City (3,240 units);

NGC phase 4 in Holy Spirit, Quezon City (960 units);

Manggahan (MMDA depot) in Pasig City (900 units);

Cobey/Fabella property in Mandaluyong City (68 units);

Smokey in Tondo, Manila (970 units);

Gulayan/Tanglaw in Navotas City (180 units); and

Disiplina Village in Valenzuela City (594 units).

There were 19 resettlement sites in the outskirts of Metro Manila built by NHA for a total of 10,444 housing units for the same period, which include:

Pandi Residences in Pandi, Bulacan (1,000 units);

Norzagaray Heights in Norzagaray, Bulacan (500 units);

Towerville phase 6 in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan (2,060 units);

Southville 8B phases 4 and 5 in Rodriguez, Rizal (1,884 units);

Hauzville Homes in Tanay, Rizal (1,000 units);

Verdant Hills in Baras, Rizal (500 units);

Golden Horizon in Trece Martires, Cavite (2,500 units)

Don Jose Homes in Calamba City, Laguna (1,000 units).

These housing units near Metro Manila include basic utilities such as power and water as well as paved roads, drainage and sewerage systems. Schools, multi-purpose covered courts, wet market, transport terminal and police outpost were built in the housing community.

The CMP, anchored on the concept of community ownership, is a mortgage financing program of the SHFC which assists legally organized associations of poor and homeless citizens to purchase and develop a tract of land. It aims to assist residents to own the lots they occupy or choose where to relocate and eventually build new improved community.

Among the CMP projects of SHFC under its High Density Housing (HDH) program to promote in-city relocation include the Ernestville Home Owners Association (HOA), Inc. Project in Novaliches, Quezon City, the Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan ng Valenzuela (AMCAVA) Housing Cooperative Project in Valenzuela City and Bistekville Projects in Quezon City.

The Ernestville HOA project is for the 212 ISFs who used to live along Tullahan River. Supported by the Quezon City government, the 4,869-sqm project is composed of 12 two-storey buildings with each unit having a floor area of 26 sqm.

The 4.2-ha condominium-style AMVACA project is for 1,440 members of the cooperative who used to live along the danger zones of Tullahan River in Valenzuela.

The P576 million in-city project includes the construction of 30 clustered buildings at three storeys each, commercial areas including wet and dry markets, daycare center, and clubhouse.

The Quezon City Bistekville projects under the HDHP are refinanced projects of the local government unit of Quezon City specially for ISFs who been living in waterways and danger areas. Bistekville-1 in Payatas is a 15,651 sqm lot with 334 housing units. Bistekville-2 in Kaligayahan is a 48,876 sqm lot with 1,078 housing units while Bistekville-4 in Culiat is a 9,200 sqm lot with 266 housing units.

In July last year, Bistekville 9 in Gulod was inaugurated.  With this, there are 192 condominiums with a 21-sqm floor area per unit constructed in the site.

Quezon City is implementing its City Shelter Plan which covers 36 socialized housing projects.

But not all cities are like Quezon City.  It has been observed that socialized housing for the urban poor is not addressed or pursued vigorously at the LGU level.

Too little and too late  for such an enormous task?

The SHDA presentation states that “the current policy regime is inadequate to address growing housing deficits.”  It lists a host of problems that include the following:

Government subsidy programs failed to reach intended benefiaciaries, particularly those who cannot afford;

Private capital left out of the housing program;

Lack of estate management program;

Relocation programs  may have adversely affected livelihood of the beneficiaries;

Lack of structure and capability of government to monitor, collect and manage fund.

But again, what’s the current state of socialized housing? Has situation for socialized housing improved? There are good news and there are bad news. And it is hard to tell, even with the readily available data.

(Sources: National Housing Authority Administrative Order No. 9, s. 2011; Housing Industry Roadmap of Subdivision and Housing Developer’s Association; hlurb.gov.ph; quezoncity.gov.ph; Inquirer Archives)

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