Published on September 28, 2013, Manila Standard Today:

Written by Roger M. Garcia

TO HELP ease the country’s ever-growing back-log in mass housing, subdivision and housing developers were promised anew by government with packages of “incentives and necessary support” during a gathering of industry players and stakeholders recently in a national forum held recently.

Shelter agency officials led by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay who concurrently heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) identified key areas of concern and vowed to extend government support to private sector particularly those involved in providing mass housing

In his speech, during the 22nd Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) National Developers Convention held in Fairmont Hotel in Makati, the vice-president presented the government’s targets for housing for the remaining term of their incumbency.

“Our focus now is on determining the best and practical level of performance target that the key shelter agencies can attain in the next three years, in coordination with the private sector”, Binay said.

The HUDCC Chair qualified in his speech that after three years, the housing agencies concerned “now have a better understanding of the realities on the ground.’’

“It is time to move on, conquer these realities and meet the challenge of achieving the new targets, he said.

Binay identified the government’s backing in the areas of sustainable funding facilities including guarantees “to help liquefy” more developers and private sector members. He enumerated the following support mechanisms and several means to private sector developers to “help achieve the country’s mass housing targets:

1. Ensure sustainable funding for the development of housing units through Pag-Ibig take-outs. Since 2010, we have provided P2.5 billion to SHDA members translating into about 3,400 units. Through our partnership, we hope to raise this level;

2. Open the remaining fund under the Abot-Kaya Developmental Financing for Projects for Informal Settlers;

3. Liquefy more developers through the Housing Loans Receivable Purchase Program (HLRPP);

4. Enroll more accounts under our guaranty programs. From 2010 to July 2013, we have approved 18 guaranty lines for bond/standard coverage ranging from P200 million to P10 billion. To date, there are 87 developers with financing arrangement from HGC guaranteed banks.

5. Pursue the review and harmonization of BP 220 Design and Standards, Building Code and Fire Code in coordination with SHDA and other developer associations;

6. Coordinate with the board of investments to harmonize the rules and guidelines on socialized housing compliance under section 18 of the Urban Development and Housing Act and availment of tax incentives or holidays;

7. Assist you in securing the fiscal incentives that you are entitled to receive vis-à-vis your housing investments. We will continuously improve our services to make it easier and faster for investors to do business with us. This includes establishing better relations with other agencies such as BIR and LRA;

8. Standardize processes and forms which cover mortgage documentation, appraisal reports, monitoring reports, accreditation systems, and rating system for borrowers, among others; and

9. Raise to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council your proposal for the upward adjustment of loan ceilings for horizontal housing development.

The vice-president further noted that the government’s targets that were set “are achievable”.

“But we do recognize the need for solid partnerships to ensure the efficient and timely accomplishment of what we aim for”, Binay stressed.

“We value the developers’ contribution and support. We need to work hand in hand especially in continuously producing quality decent units, developing new technologies that will drive down the cost, and fast tracking construction”, he said.