Housing sector’s proposed 2018 budget lowest in 10 years
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the growing need for shelter in the Philippines, the country's housing agencies are likely to get their lowest budget in a decade.
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson Eduardo del Rosario said that the sector will only get P4.7 billion in the proposed national budget for 2018.
The amount is around 92% lower than the P68 billion budget HUDCC requested from the Department of Budget and Management. (READ: NHA faces P10 billion cut in 2018 proposed budget)
In his presentation during the budget hearing in the Senate on Tuesday, September 26, Del Rosario emphasized that this is the lowest amount given to them in the last 10 years.
A total of P4.9 billion was allocated to housing agencies in 2008. It increased to P21 billion in 2011, and to as much as P37 billion in 2014.
Funding dropped to P15 billion in 2017, and is further reduced to P4.7 billion in the latest proposed budget.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOUSING
“It’s because of [the] absorptive capacity of the key shelter agencies (KSA),” explained Del Rosario.
“But when I talked to the key shelter agencies…it’s not really a question of low absorptive capacity but maybe the lack of understanding of the housing sector,” he added.
According to Del Rosario, housing projects have a “gestation period” of around 3 years, that is why it seems that the agencies under HUDCC are not utilizing their funds effectively.
Senator JV Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on housing and urban development, said he would propose to include the KSAs in the list of offices that have multi-year obligations.
“Consolidation, securing titles and permits already take a year. After the permits, the fiscal year is already over,” Ejercito said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Until Ejercito's proposal is adopted, HUDCC is relying on their appeal for an additional P10 billion that will be discussed in the bicameral conference on the budget.
This augmentation would help them build 100,000 housing units. HUDCC targets to build 250,000 per year in order to solve the 5.5 million housing backlog. (READ: P100B a year: Can Duterte gov't build enough homes for informal settlers?)
Del Rosario said they also plan to tap the private sector for help through public-private partnerships. Rental housing is also a scheme they are eyeing to limit expenses in providing shelters for the informal settlers. – Rappler.com