Published on September 17, 2013, Malaya Business Insight Online:

Written by Irma Isip

The country’s largest real estate and housing developers group has proposed a public-private partnership (PPP) to resolve the worsening urban squalor from informal settlements.

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA) said the proposal will mean construction investments on their part, plus subsidy and the provision of housing loans from the government.

Under the proposal, private developers will prepare building plans, undertake and finance the construction of socialized low-rise buildings, assist in the processing of housing loans for informal settler family-beneficiaries, and even organize a condominium corporation for these housing projects.

SHDA hopes that in turn, government would subsidize the provision of in-city land that is fully developed and buildable.

The group said government agencies can then assist by recognizing the project as the developers’ compliance to the socialized housing requirement, setting a price ceiling for the socialized housing units, and extending affordable home loan values to the beneficiaries.

The concerned local government unit can also help fast track permits and provide property management for completed projects.

While socialized housing for the underprivileged continues to be developed, SHDA has noted that these developments have largely risen in non-urban areas in the past 20 years.

Paul Tanchi, chairman and national president of SHDA, said over half a million informal settlers “will grow at least at the same pace as the national population growth rate, plus the rate of migration from the provinces because of the promise of jobs in urbanized areas.”

He said many relocated informal settlers simply return to the cities since they already work there. The situation is further compounded by the migration of provincial job seekers.

Estimates from the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) show that over 570,000 informal settler families  live in communities with unacceptable sanitary standards, high crime rates, and lower access to education and employment.

Four out of 10 residents of Metro Manila, the highest urbanized area in the country, now live in the slums.

SHDA, which counts over 200 chapters across the country as members, will tackle the issue of addressing housing backlog at the 22nd National Developers’ Convention and General Membership Meeting on September 26 to 27 at the Fairmont Makati.

With the theme “Groundwork:  Shaping a Sustainable Housing Industry,” the convention will host sessions on Streamlining the Permitting Process; Access to Affordable Housing; and Exploring Options for End-User Financing.

The national convention features a number of housing industry luminaries as resource persons, including officials from HUDCC, National Economic and Development Authority, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Home Development Mutual Fund, Board of Investments and the Land Registration Authority.

SHDA is the largest organization of housing developers in the country.

The housing backlog is estimated at 3.7 million units, SHDA said.