DHSUD housing roadmap: Pathway to progress
The country’s march towards addressing the long-standing and emerging problems in urban development and human settlements has finallly picked up pace with the recent adoption by the multi-agency National Human Settlements Board (NHSB) of the 20-year National Housing and Urban Development Sector Plan.
The roadmap, which I consider as one of the solid foundations for the future of the housing and urban development in our country, synergizes and further propels the systematic and overall sectoral development landscape both in the urban and rural settings.
It consolidated both the ongoing and proposed strategies, the plans and programs of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the key shelter agencies (KSAs) and other stakeholders, including the private sector, towards a common vision of “Sustainable housing and a well-planned community for all Filipinos.”
Apart from its long-term vision, the 20-year plan also examined the international community’s best practices, including innovations and success stories in planning and implementation, which were incorporated in the Philippine setting.
Anchored on the national government’s goals under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and AmBisyon Natin 2040, the housing roadmap banks on the opportunities arising from issues surrounding shelter, urban population and growth, climate change, disaster impacts, public health risks and urban planning and design, economy, infrastructure and governance.
The unbalanced population growth in the capital centers, or what is considered as “internal migration” in cities led to an uncontrolled urban expansion, which strained the provision of resources and basic services within its peripheries.
It is worth noting that a World Bank study reported that 65 percent of the country’s population will be residing in the cities by 2050—apparently due to livelihood opportunities as compared to the countryside where “rural and agricultural poverty” is prevalent.
This means more Filipinos will be vulnerable to typhoons, floods or sickness due to poor conditions, weak infrastructures among others. The urgent need for safe and sustainable housing communities is further highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Targeted, catalytic and workable interventions that act as levers and stimulants toward sustainable human settlements and urban development are therefore needed to solve these perennial problems. Thus, the 20-year National Housing and Urban Development Sector Plan was crafted.
The roadmap tackles these challenges in the form of banner projects in the short, medium and long term. With an eye and heart toward the need and welfare of the underprivileged, the housing projects intend to create and transform spaces into safe, decent shelters and sustainable communities that are accessible and affordable to every Filipino family.
Urban planning and design is another key area that would be strengthened in order to make it more sensitive and responsive to the demands of climate change, disaster and other risks as well as for the protection and promotion of the interests of vulnerable groups.
Currently, the DHSUD is intensifying engagements with local government units to assist them in crafting and updating their respective Comprehensive Land Use Plans and subsequently, their Local Shelter Plans. This is to ensure that LGUs maximize their land use potentials for a well-planned urban development with an enabling environment that can trigger a robust economy.
All of these would be implemented in partnership with our stakeholders, particularly the LGUs and the private sector, to develop synergies and ensure continuity of efforts toward a globally competitive, economically vibrant and livable Philippines—with cities, municipalities and settlements that are environmentally sustainable, climate resilient, safe and connected physically, spatially and digitally.
Developing an inclusive Philippines that is equitable and participatory, and which provides universal access to quality basic services, especially in housing is worth aspiring for. It safeguards the children, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities. It equalizes access to livelihood opportunities and enables the informal settler families to live with pride and dignity.
That is our vision and, with the masterplan in place, it will be our pathway to progress.
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