Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the agency in-charge of the government’s housing sector, to develop programs that will provide decent and low-cost rental housing options for the poor and marginalized.
“Hindi na dapat lumaki pa ang housing backlog. Sa bagong tatag na Department of Housing, umaasa tayo na mas magiging innovative at creative ito para magkaroon ng mura at disenteng pabahay para sa mga nawalan ng kabuhayan at hindi kakayanin ang magkaroon ng sariling bahay sa ngayon.”
Hontiveros hopes that DHSUD could deliver an affordable “in-city public rental housing” program that will benefit those who endure long and costly commutes or decide to live in nearby slums just to be able to work in the cities.
“Many people come to the cities so that they can earn a living, kaya kailangan ng tirahan na abot-kaya at hindi masakit sa bulsa. Sa sobrang mahal ng lupa sa mga syudad natin, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nakikisiksik na lang sa mga paupahan — marami dito ay sa mga lote ng gobyerno na naging informal settlements. Public rental housing should be available for them. Mura ito dahil hindi na kailangang bilhin ang lupa at hindi rin kailangang ibenta ng gobyerno,” she said.
During the Senate hearing on DHSUD budget, Hontiveros also emphasized the importance of “urban renewal” and of the housing sector as a ‘new driver of growth’ in COVID-19 recovery, especially as DHSUD is also seeking to fill in the country’s housing gap.
“Ngayong maraming nawalan ng trabaho at bumaba ang kita dahil sa pandemya, the government should continue to give subsidies, and that includes support for the housing sector.” she said.
Hontiveros then urged DHSUD to work with city mayors and propose a work plan to use the inventory of land assets of the Key Shelter Agencies, including areas under presidential proclamations whose designated use is for shelter.
These crowded but economically underutilized lands, according to the Senator, can be repurposed and utilized for vertical socialized housing and also revenue-generating urban development.
“There are at least 3500 hectares of highly valuable land in Metro Manila. Kahit 1000 hectares lang nito ang gamitin bilang vertical public rental housing can raise property values that will make LGUs happy, move people out of slums, while giving them security of tenure and a place of their own in the city.” she said.
“Sa pamamagitan ng isang magandang programa para sa public rental housing, mabibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng maayos, disente at murang bahay para sa kanilang pamilya,” she concluded.