By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) will soon have the opportunity to own their house under the government’s affordable housing program.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones said that under the second phase of agrarian reform, the ARBs housing program will be one of the major programmes that would greatly improve the living condition of farmer-beneficiaries in the country.
“Most of our farmers and farm-workers are poor and does not own the house they live in. And even if they own it, most of their houses are dilapidated and needs repair. Why? Because the farmers would rather use their money for farming and family expenses than use it for house repairs,” Castriciones said.
“The ARBs housing program is our comprehensive solution to achieve inclusive growth by uplifting the quality of lives of CARP beneficiaries and their families through this housing project and though livelihood and educational support that we will provide,” he added.
There are around 2.8 million farmer-beneficiaries nationwide and “a big portion of this number will be able to avail” of the housing program, he pointed out.
“As the DAR celebrates CARP’s 30 year-implementation, the ARBs housing program shall serve as the new face of DAR. This program will pursue financial and ecological needs of ARBs, affordable and decent housing and convergence of support from various government agencies,” he added.
DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Emily Padilla said the ARBs housing program will be a product compilation of existing programs and projects of relevant government and private sector agencies.
She said the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council’s (HUDCC) Balay Filipino Program along with other key shelter agencies namely, the National Housing Authority (NHA), Pag-IBIG Fund, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC), Home Guarantee Corp. (HGC) and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC) will be the key component for the ARBs housing program of DAR.
“These key shelter agencies will extend their respective programs, activities, and expertise in assisting and tapping subdivision developers in the housing industry to join the DAR’s ARBs housing program. They will also help us in providing guidelines for the farmers’ housing programs such as administration of the farmers’ housing fund and accreditation of housing developers,” Padilla said.
According to Padilla, the program will be implemented in two schemes namely, on-site and off-site housing.
The on-site housing scheme will cover home improvements of existing houses of ARBs, construction or purchase of a new house for ARBs, and refinancing of an existing housing loan secured by the ARB.
“The farmers’ housing loans will be secured by emancipation patent, certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) and other titles issued to them. Housing loans for house construction or improvement in lands covered by CLOA will be treated as additional loans by Land Bank and other lending institutions,” Padila said.
The off-site housing scheme covers subdivision projects located in the capital or in major urban centers of the province.
“Such projects may be chosen by farmers to provide housing for their families, children or relatives so they can be near to schools, medical facilities and market centers for their agri-products,” Padilla explained.
She added that subdivision plans and designs will be in such a way that production facilities such as rice and sugar mills, dryers and warehouses are integrated with places designated for open space such as basketball courts and multi-purpose centers.
“The housing units are the duplex type with two bedrooms each, covering 37 square meters. Model houses with different designs to choose from will soon be available for farmers to visit in Nueva Vizcaya State University compound and another in San Leonardo Municipal Hall compound in Nueva Ecija,” Padilla said.
“The model houses in Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija will be on temporary display and will be visited and viewed by ARBs. We want them to see the different designs so they can choose which house design would best suit their family,” she added.
Padilla added that several model houses will also be erected in provinces in Visayas and Mindanao.
“The provision of housing is demand-driven and payment will be based on the farmers’ capacity to pay. The maximum term of housing loan will be at 30 years and amortization payment scheme will be based on cropping/harvest schedule of farmers,” she explained.