Lawmakers slam 'measly' 2021 budget proposed for housing agencies

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives slammed the "measly" budget proposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for government agencies in charge of housing.

In the agencies' budget hearing on Thursday, September 10, several House representatives called for a bigger budget, saying the P3.68 billion the Duterte administration is asking for is not enough to adequately respond to the housing needs of Filipinos.

P3.68 billion is the total 2021 budget proposed for 5 agencies, led by the new Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) . It’s less than half of their total budget this year, P7.83 billion, and only 5% of the P77.1 billion total budget the agencies requested that the DBM set.

"What a disgusting response of our national government to the needs of our housing sector through the department of housing," said Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez, who called the P3.68 bilion proposed budget "measly."

"I will therefore manifest that let us correct this. We can never solve housing and give dignity to our people if this is the kind of budget we give," he added.

Aside from Rodriguez, other lawmakers who called for a bigger housing budget were Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Kiko Benitez, and Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas.

Here’s the breakdown of the proposed budget in the 2021 National Expenditure Program:

  • DHSUD - P415 million
  • National Housing Authority - P2 billion
  • Social Housing Finance Corporation - P369 million
  • National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation - P1 billion
  • Human Settlements Adjudication Commission - P199 million
dhsud budget hearing

From DHSUD slides at budget hearing

The proposed budget cuts have affected important housing-related programs like the establishment of "housing one-stop shop processing centers," the Human Settlements and Urban Development Program, responses to COVID-19, and the "full operationalization" of the DHSUD's main office and 16 regional offices.

Despite their smaller budget, the housing sector said it plans a “rebound” from the pandemic’s impact on construction of housing units.

The health crisis caused them to adjust their 2020 targets for housing.

From the NHA’s target of 99,510 housing units, the target has been adjusted to only 68,095, a decrease of nearly 32%.

The Home Development Mutual Fund's adjusted target for this year is 77,000 units, a 31% drop from its initial 111,050 target units. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

image