Published on September 20, 2013, Manila Bulletin Online:

Written by Bernie Magkilat

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA), the country’s largest real estate and housing developers group, has proposed a government subsidized public-private partnership (PPP) project to resolve the worsening urban squalor from informal settlements.

Paul Tanchi, SHDA chairman and president, said in a statement they will undertake the construction of the housing projects and for the government to provide subsidy and government financing.

Estimates from the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) reveal that over 570,000 informal settler families (ISF) 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 counts over 200 chapters across the country as members, has called for the PPP.

Under the SHDA 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 ISF 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. 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. Over half a million ISF “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,” said Tanchi. Many relocated ISF simply return to the cities since they already work there. The situation is further compounded by the migration of provincial job seekers.

SHDA will provide the more details at the 22ndNational Developers’ Convention and General Membership Meeting on September 26-27, 2013 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.