QUEZON CITY – The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is adopting belt-tightening measures to raise funds for the national government in its fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario stressed that the austerity measures will be undertaken without compromising the delivery of DHSUD’s services and accomplish its mandate.
Initially, the Social Housing Financial Corp. (SHFC), one of the key shelter agencies (KSAs) under DHSUD, has approved the discontinuance of P21,119,155,000 worth of projects and programs.
Among these were the P1.1 million allotted for Customer Relations and Complaints Division; P9,250,000 worth of activities of the Human Resources Development Division; P8,041,905 worth of trainings, assemblies and seminars of the Insurance and Community Enhancement Division; P2,077,250 allocation for activities of the Partner Relations Division, and P650,000 fund for Strategic Communications Division.
At the DHSUD Central Office, the Management Committee proposed to discontinue non-essential activities including travels, both international and local; the purchase of motor vehicles; general assembly; quarterly “salo-salo”; annual sports fest, participation to cultural events and fun runs; and mid-year and year end activities. The programs to be affected and amount to be saved is still being finalized.
“As one with the national government in the fight against COVID-19, we should find ways on how to provide much-needed funds in anticipation of the long-term effects of the pandemic,” Secretary Del Rosario said.
“The government needs to sustain its efforts to assist our countrymen cope-up with the adverse effects of the community quarantine and finally defeat the COVID-19,” he added.
Secretary Del Rosario, however, stressed that the belt tightening measures should not adversely affect the delivery of vital DHSUD targets.
“We will undertake these austerity measures without compromising the delivery of our mandate,” the DHSUD chief pointed out.
The move to cut government expenses was in compliance with the National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 580 issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) urging all departments and agencies to adopt austerity measures amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Immediately after President Rodrigo Duterte declared ECQ last March 17, Secretary Del Rosario ordered a three-month loan moratorium by the four key shelter agencies, namely, the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Home Development Mutual Fund or PagIBIG Fund, the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. and SHFC.
The moratorium would benefit more than 5.5 million member-beneficiaries of the KSAs but will result to the non-collection of P31 billion.
On April 3, Secretary Del Rosario also signed a memorandum ordering the moratorium for in-house financing during the ECQ and 30 days thereafter for all buyers of lots, house and lots and condominium units of developers that required registration from the DHSUD. The unpaid dues are payable within six months or any option mutually agreed upon by the buyers and developers.
The housing czar also called a meeting with four major groups of real estate developers in the country to craft doable measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the private developers.