This is what the Duterte administration, through the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC), is offering to some 12,000 families living along railways from Manila to Laguna.
SHFC finds land to develop subdivision-like communities in Tanza, Cavite
Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, SHFC president, told Daily Tribune that the agency was tapped by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) as partner in relocating informal settler families (ISF) living along the Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) Tutuban-Calamba route.
Cabling said SHFC already found the land to develop subdivision-like communities in Tanza, Cavite acquired for the ISF who will be affected by the PNR project.
He stressed that the effort to relocate the 11,000 to 12,000 families is a whole-of-government program, citing the SHFC was able to acquire the land in Tanza from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“Here, we see the various government agencies working together to provide better living conditions to the affected ISF,” Cabling said.
“On our part, the SHFC was tapped by the DoTr because of our past experiences in building communities for victims of typhoon ‘Ondoy.’ The DoTr is engaging our partnership to relocate those living along the Tutuban-Calamba route,” he added.
Cabling said the SHFC has already paid 20 percent of the total cost of the Tanza property to BSP two weeks ago.
“They (DoTr) had downloaded money to us. We are already starting it,” he said.
SHFC model horizontal homes have a 24-square meter floor area with provisions for a loft and cost only P580,000. The loan is subject to only six percent annual interest, payable up to 25 years.
Cabling said coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is funding the Tutuban-Calamba section of the project, has started.
He said the SHFC had organized the affected ISF down to the barangay level to engage the families from the planning stage up.
The official explained that it has been the practice of SHFC to involve the ISF themselves in all stages of the relocation project.
“We are not only building homes. SHFC is building communities — resilient and sustainable communities. We have a livelihood component,” Cabling said.
“We engage them (ISF) from the very beginning. We plan together as a group. So, they have a voice in undertaking the project,” he added.
Old PNR line revived
As part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the DoTr is reviving the PNR via the P777 billion North-South Commuter Railway Systems, one of the big-ticket projects of the current government.
The project is composed of 36 stations traversing various cities and municipalities in Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Calabarzon.
Cabling said the National Housing Authority was tapped to take care of the affected ISF along the north line from Manila to Clark in Pampanga.
In the 1990s, a sitcom entitled “Home Along da Riles,” bannered by the late comedy king Dolphy, was a hit, depicting the daily routine of residents living beside railways, including jolts to their makeshift houses every time a train passes by.
The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the establishment of a regional office in Tacloban City of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to supervise its housing projects in the region.
The RDC also wants the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to set up a regional office in the city, among cities ravaged by Super-typhoon Yolanda.
The RDC is pushing for the setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
Lawyer Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling is president of the SHFC, the lead agency implementing the government’s socialized housing program.
Lloyd Christopher Lao is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the HLURB, the primary agency mandated to provide technical assistance in the preparation, review, and approval of Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of local government units.
Eastern Visayas’ highest policy-making body sent the resolutions approved on June 21, 2019, to the Office of the President and to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
But the RDC is still waiting for the central government’s response on the resolutions requesting for the establishment of regional offices of the two government agencies.
National Economic and Development Authority regional director Meylene Rosales, the RDC’s vice-chairperson, however said that they are upbeat on the positive response of the President Rodrigo Duterte and HUDCC chairman Eduardo del Rosario.
The RDC pushed for setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
“There was an issue raised on the alleged irregular collection of fees from the beneficiaries of the government’s permanent housing project implemented through SHFC. The major factor behind this was the absence of their field office here in the region to monitor projects,” Rosales said in a report in the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Early this year, hundreds of housing beneficiaries have filed cases against a community housing organizer and her accomplices for overpricing of land acquisition, non-remittance of payments, and illegal collection of fees from recipients housing projects funded by SHFC.
Meanwhile, the absence of HLURB regional office has slowed down the pace of housing projects due to the lack of personnel and absence of authority to monitor and resolve issues and approve plans and applications for clearances and licenses.
“RDC members agreed that the presence of a fully staffed HLURB and SHFC offices in the region is important to regulate and monitor the implementation of remaining Yolanda resettlement projects and other ongoing and future housing projects,” Rosales said.
The HLURB regional office in this city has stopped its operation in 2010 after the merger of two field offices in Cebu and Tacloban due to the implementation of the Government Rationalization Program.
The agency has been maintaining a desk at the Government Service Insurance System office in this city to answer public queries. All transactions from the region have to go through the regional office in Cebu City.
All development and constructions on land of towns and cities without the CLUP will have to get the approval of the HLURB office in Cebu.
As of 2018, only 85 percent of the region’s 143 towns and cities have approved CLUPs.
The Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) promotes gender sensitivity not only in compliance with law but as well as help empower stakeholders especially women housing loan beneficiaries and community organizers.
SHFC, a line agency under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) that is funding the government’s social housing program, is currently holding a nationwide Mobilizers Seminar on Gender Sensivity in relation to the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act No. 9710) also known as the Gender Equality Act. RA 9710 seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in marginalized sector. Under the law, local governments and government agencies are mandated to have a Gender and Development (GAD) program promoting gender sensitivity. The seminar for Mobilizers is the other half of a two-billed series of seminars in Luzon, National Capital Region (NCR), Visayas and Mindanao highlighted by the Mobilizers Seminar on New Guidelines for the Community Mortgage Program (CMP). Mobilizers assist SHFC in organizing and assisting homeowners association of homeless families secure loans under the CMP for low-cost housing from the SHFC. After the training, the Mobilizers would eventually be part of the frontliners of SHFC’s ground-level activities on gender sensitivity for the housing loan borrowers. The seminars have already been held in NCR and Luzon and will be conducted in Cebu City for its Visayas tour by the end of September.
The Mindanao leg of the three-day twin seminars, held in Davao City on September 9-11, was attended by about 50 Mobilizers and representatives from Local Government Units (LGUs), said Atty. Salie Taguian, SHFC vice president for Partners Relation. Taguian said SHFC has earmarked P8 million for the seminars and trainings and other activities related to gender sensitivity. At the sideline of the Davao City event, Taguian said the SHFC gender sensitivity campaign has a fitting target. “Most of the officers of the homeowners associations whose members were granted housing loans are women,” she said. The objective of the Equality Act is to prevent gender-based discrimination and promote equality between women and men, thereby improving the status of women, particularly in working life. It also seeks perspectives and processes that are participatory and empowering for women, supportive of their self-determination to develop their potentials as key players in social and economic development. Taguian said the SHFC gender sensitivity seminars are capacity-building efforts that hope to empower women to become leaders and tools of development.
Promotion of gender sensitivity is being strongly pushed by SHFC president Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling.
Wants one-stop shop for socialized housing permits
Senator Sonny Angara on Friday, September 13, pushed for the streamlining and simplifying of the issuance of housing-related clearances and permits through the creation of one-stop processing centers to address the backlog in the construction of settlements for the informal sector.
Angara warned that the national housing backlog would worsen and turn into a national housing crisis if the bureaucratic red tape in government housing agencies is not reduced.
Based on future demand and the current pace of production, the backlog in housing units is forecast to hit 6.6 million by 2022, from 5.5 million in 2016.
For the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the pre-construction processing time for its Community Mortgage Program projects is between 16 to 74 months, according to the Senator.
“But we can ramp up production by improving the regulatory environment. When there is ease in doing business, financing comes in, and with volume comes affordability,” Angara said.
Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, SHFC president, said his agency targets 300,000 low-cost housing by 2022 to add up to its current account of 200,000. The SHFC mandate is to provide housing to the homeless poor.
Cabling bared the figure on September 6, at the First Socialized Housing Convergence held in Manila. The Convergence was attended by government agencies and stakeholders in the socialized housing sector.
The Convergence, one of the highlights of the 31st anniversary celebration of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP), the socialized housing flagship of the SHFC, was organized by SHFC and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) headed by chairman Eduardo del Rosario.
Angara said the mandate of several anti-red tape laws should be applied to housing “not just in national government agencies but also in local governments.”
The senator particularly cited Republic Act 10884, which requires the establishment of socialized housing one-stop processing centers.
Angara said building a house is a slog through 27 offices, 78 permits, 156 signatures, 373 documents that could last for months.
For socialized or affordable mass housing, pre-construction processing time could last up to 74 months, if it involves land conversion, titling, and financing, he noted.
“Before you pour your first pail of cement, you have to follow a long paper trail. And many families do not have the energy for that,“ he said.
Angara said government housing officials have reported to him that it normally takes the National Housing Authority 12 to 30 months to get a green light for construction. (with PNA report)
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