Cut red tape to clear 6.57-M units in socialized housing backlog, solon urges

Published October 19, 2020, 3:55 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Ruiz Daza cited Monday (Oct.19) the need for the government to streamline transactions in the housing sector.

Northern Samar 1st district Rep. Paul Daza (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations made this observation during a launch activity organized by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) today.

The House leader said the inefficiencies and red tape should be first tackled to address the estimated housing backlog that is roughly 6.57 million units.

He laments that it typically takes about 27 offices, 78 permits, 146 signatures, and 373 documents to be able to begin a socialized housing project, which means that projects usually need from two to four years to be able to start.

“My hope is that we can streamline transactions in the sector hopefully leading to only 3 months and not more than 6 months of processing,” Daza said.

“In a country where the poor and most vulnerable continue to live in inadequate and crowded homes and high-risk areas—increasing their vulnerabilities when disasters and pandemics happen—it’s time to make bolder steps in streamlining transactions in the housing sector,” he said.

Last week, Daza defended the 2021 proposed budget of ARTA and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD),

According to him, aside from red tape, lack of government spending is also hounding the country’s housing sector.

“In a healthy economy, the housing sector should roughly be 20 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In the Philippines, the contribution is roughly only about 11 percent in 2018 (DTI, 2019). In terms of budget, the government allocates 0.78 percent only (on average) of the national budget to the sector for the past 12 years,” he said.

“This will not get better for as long as the sector is the least of government’s priority,” Daza pointed out.

He said government should prioritize the housing sector in terms of budget allocation.

“I fully support the programs of the government but we need to continue improving allocation because while DPWH is allocated P667-B, which is equivalent to 14.8 percent of the 2021 national budget—the housing sector is allocated P3.98 billion only,” he said.

“As our data show, it’s socially, economically, and ethically wrong if we’re spending 167 times more in big-ticket infrastructure than in housing,” he laments.

The House leader stressed that decent homes have correlation to better health status, peace and order, and higher productivity.

“The belief that housing comes after development must change; instead, we need to think of housing as a precursor to development,” Daza said.

He cited that in Singapore, socialized housing is at the bedrock of the economy.

Singapore responded to their housing requirements by building “in-city” and affordable mass housing, enabling families to spend more time for work and recreation because their homes are within close proximity of work and schools, Daza noted.