Published on September 27, 2013, The Daily Tribune:

Written by Pat C. Santos

Vice President and housing czar Jejomar Binay has pledge to give full priority in the reconstruction of war-torn Zamboanga City after the more than two weeks gun battle between the government force and members of the Nur Misuari faction Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). This was Binay said during an interview at the 22nd Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) National Developer Convention and General membership meeting held at Fairmont Hotel in Makati yesterday as he also pledged to help the group in its quest to strengthen the private housing industry.

Binay, who is scheduled to visit to Zamboanga today to inspect the area, will be accompanied by government officials in different housing agencies whom primarily will assess the damage done after the more than two weeks stand-off where houses were burned and many were dislocated.
“We will be inspecting the areas and see what immediate works to be done as well as hinting on giving immediate assistance to the affected residents of brought about by rebellion in short helping people avail of government help in any form,” Binay said.

Binay, who is also a former local government official, knew the effort being done by the private sectors in investing for the housing of Filipino people as he lauded the organization of nationwide membership of SHDA closely working together with the government. The Vice President made an assurance that he will strengthen the effort being done by SHDA as well as extend it to countryside as he disclosed that he will be signing a memorandum of agreement among 19 rural banks in the country to spread housing even in far-flung provinces.

Meanwhile, the SHDA has released a report on estimated housing starts for 2012 based on raw data from the National Statistics Office (NSO). The report, which was based on NSO’s tabulation of building permits, revealed a 17.3 percent or 30, 870 increase in volume of housing units compared to the year before.

Housing units went up to 211,009 for the past year, compared to 180,140 units in 2011. The report added that the nationwide value from housing rose from 100.22 billion to 120.37 billion in 2012 marking an impressive growth.

Despite the increase, SHDA said the sector was still a long way from eliminating the national housing backlog. SHDA, which was created a masterplan to address the housing problem said the NSO data on building permits provided invaluable help for housing developers in strategic planning, decision-making and industry status review.

“While our economy is growing at an average of 6 to 7 percent annually, the growth of housing is almost three times that, indicative of the significant multiplier effect our sector has on the economy,” SHDA president Paul Tanchi said.

SHDA estimates the national housing backlog at over 3.9 million units, which could increase to almost 7 million units by 2030. The association has enumerated a number of challenges that could make increasing housing production into uphill battle. Among them is the uncertainty of tax holidays for mass housing approved by government only on a year to year basis, the inaccessibility and inadequacy of government housing finance for lower and mid income segments, varying and even conflicting land use policies, and other issues in processing lant titles, building permits and licenses for housing projects.