Solon sounds alarm on housing crisis, offers solution

Robes made the remarks at the “Building Better Homes, Living Sustainable Lives” open forum held on March 10 at the San Jose Del Monte Convention Center in Bulacan to address and create solutions in the housing backlog .

San Jose Del Monte Rep. Florida Robes

She said problems “continue to hound our government’s commitment to give every Filipino family a decent housing.”

Robes, the vice chairperson of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said data from the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) showed the country’s housing backlog stands at around 7 million units.

“If no proper intervention is done to address it, the number could balloon to 22 million units by 2040, a very alarming number,” she warned.

She said “there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. It is difficult to solve because it is a complex process.”

Robes proposed that to give more Filipinos access to affordable housing, the government should shorten procedures and set up a one-stop-shop center that will cater to everything related to housing.

“I strongly believe that further cutting red tape and simplifying procedures in both construction of housing units and application of housing loans could help facilitate the process of home ownership. The setting up of housing one-stop-shop processing centers for everything related to housing is also a step in the right direction,” she said.

The lawmaker cited her district, San Jose Del Monte, as an example of one of the country’s resettlement areas.

“The issue of housing is close to my heart and to our city,” she said, adding that Bgy. Sapang Palay today is one of the biggest resettlement areas in the country in addition to the Pabahay 2000 in Bgy. Muzon and Towerville in Bgy. Minuyan Proper.

Robes said that “San Jose Del Monte City has become a melting pot of residents who came from the different areas in Metro Manila over the years. Our city has become the home of hundreds of thousands of informal settlers along creeks, esteros, riverbanks and railways who had long dreamed of their own homes.”

San Jose Del Monte, she said, is just one of the many resettlement areas around Metro Manila and other major areas around the Philippines.

“There are much more but the housing backlog problem still persists. I have also heard of the problem of our socialized housing units having no takers because they are far away from employment opportunities. This is where the private sector and local government units should be actively engaged by the national government in order to develop townships around these housing projects in order to provide job opportunities,” she said.

In San Jose Del Monte, she said, several problems face the National Housing Authority (NHA) resettlement projects, which the city government is trying to address. Among these are illegal selling of housing units, rough roads and the need for livelihood programs for resettlers.

“We in San Jose Del Monte are doing our best to address these problems in resettlement areas in consultation with the NHA,” she said.

Robes added that “the housing problem in our country is very complex and complicated. But it is not something that we cannot solve and address. We need all hands on deck. We need a whole-of-nation approach in this persistent problem.”

“As leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that the constitutional mandate to make affordable, decent housing units available to the underprivileged and homeless citizens of our country is upheld. Having one’s own house is one of the fundamental human rights that must be awarded to everyone,” she said.

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