Creba: Pass law on comprehensive home financing program
We write regarding the editorial, “Pittance for housing” (6/28/19), where the urgent issue hounding the housing sector was outlined: that of the apparent lack of government priority for housing production despite the 6.57 million housing backlog that continues to grow every day.
We in the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (Creba) agree with you totally that provision for housing, especially for the poor and homeless low-income earners in the country, has suffered tremendously in terms of funding allocation for many decades.
Since shelter is one of the basic needs of man, provision of the same should enjoy a priority at least equal to tourism, education and other government services. But since the housing woes that beset our country have grown to epic proportions amid inadequate housing programs over the years, we need to come up with creative solutions that do not only depend on the government’s tax collection as source.
This is why Creba has long been advocating for the establishment of a comprehensive home financing program (CHFP) that will make all income-earning Filipinos entitled to fixed, low-interest, long-term housing loans, whether or not they are members of the SSS, GSIS or the Pag-Ibig Fund.
Such a move is urgent and necessary if the national government is truly serious in addressing the country’s 6.57 million housing backlog which has grown by leaps and bounds over the years because of inadequate housing programs.
House Bill No. 4886 and Senate Bill No. 2106 were filed in the 17th Congress to earmark P270-billion funds for CHFP that would be sourced through bond investments by the SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig Fund, agri-agra funds of banks and government budgetary allocation.
The CHFP would be designed exclusively for home loan borrowers with no component for development financing. This is to ensure the use of funds strictly for shelter acquisition by the homeless. If passed into law, the bills would amend Republic Act No. 7835 or the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act of 1994.
These fund sources, anyway, have been identified by various existing laws and agency charters and need only to be integrated for effective administration into socialized and economic housing beneficiaries.
The bills sought to appoint the Pag-Ibig Fund to administer the loans, with the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. acting as the secondary mortgage institution that would ensure the steady and sustainable flow of housing funds, following the model that allowed Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand to attain low to zero homelessness for their people.
All income-earning citizens who qualify as beneficiaries under the Urban Development and Housing Act, and have not acquired housing assistance from any government institution, shall be eligible for home loans through the CHFP.
Creba’s support for the proposed bills stems from its five-point agenda for housing that would accelerate annual housing production to the level of 500,000 units, in order to build a total of 10 million homes in a span of 20 years.
The CHFP, which was pushed in the previous Congress, is a complete package on its own, and we hope the incoming Congress will steer its immediate passage into law to bring about the urgently needed remedy to our longstanding housing woes.
With the objective of raising housing production to the highest possible level to match the shortage and compounding annual demand, the proposed law will provide a tremendous boost to the economy in terms of employment and income opportunities for millions, catalyzing business activities for at least 70 other industries, attracting investments and building new economic centers, and generating billions in government revenues from taxes.
NOEL TOTI M. CARINO, national president, and CHARLIE V. GORAYEB, national chair, Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc.