MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved at the committee level on Tuesday, May 30, a resolution seeking to allow the National Housing Authority (NHA) to distribute to other qualified beneficiaries the idle housing units originally intended for the police and the military.
Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development said the resolution, jointly drafted with the counterpart Senate committee, will be taken up at the House plenary. Once approved, it will be adopted by the Senate.
The resolution was a response to the urban poor group Kadamay’s massive takeover of around 5,000 empty houses in several resettlement sites in Pandi, Bulacan, in March. The forced occupation prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order the distribution of the units to Kadamay members who now lives there.
The joint resolution that hurdled the committee level is needed since the budget used for the housing projects were under the General Appropriations Act of 2013 and 2014 passed by Congress.
The government allocated P5.6 billion and P5.458 billion for the program in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Despite the huge amount intended for it, the housing project failed, with only an occupancy rate of 13%, according to the Commission on Audit. (READ: Bulacan housing payments drop after Kadamay takeover)
During the joint hearing of the housing committees of the Senate and the House last April 18, it was revealed that more than 55,000 houses for the police and the military remain unoccupied. (VLOG: Inside a housing unit in Pandi, Bulacan)
Rappler maps out where these housing projects are:
Based on the data from the NHA, most sites are located in Bulacan, followed by Laguna and Rizal – all areas are off-city relocation in Luzon.
Northern and Central Luzon regions have higher occupancy rate because these were the pilot sites of the project. Those in the Visayas and Mindanao, which have the lowest occupancy rates, were built during the last phases of the program.
Except for 4 areas in Mindanao and one in the Visayas, all of the 76 housing sites have been completed. Almost all of the housing sites in these two island groups have zero occupancy to date.
The NHA has given the police and the military beneficiaries until June 15 to occupy the housing units awarded to them. Should they choose to forfeit the units, these will be awarded to other qualified beneficiaries, including other government employees and Kadamay members.
The Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police personnel who choose to let go of their awarded units will be given new ones with improved designs and facilities. – Rappler.com
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