PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Save your homes — Noli

March 01, 2009 07:32 PM Sunday [ ]

By: Cristina Lee-Pisco

VICE President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairman Noli de Castro yesterday urged delinquent housing loan borrowers to apply for loan restructuring to avoid foreclosure.

In his weekly radio program “Para sa Yo Bayan,” De Castro advised the 370,000 delinquent housing loan borrowers to take advantage of the loan structuring and condonation program assuring them no downpayment is required and the application is free.

Congress has approved the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act No. 9507, or An Act to Establish a Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring and Condonation Program.

“Alam naman natin na talagang mahirap ang buhay ngayon dahil sa global economic crisis, kaya ginagawa natin ang lahat para hindi ma-foreclose yung mga bahay ng ating mga kababayan lalung-lalo na yung nasa low-income bracket. Dahil sa batas na ito, mapagpapatuloy na nila yung pagbabayad sa kanilang buwanang loan amortization,” De Castro said.

Under the program, housing loan borrowers who have at least three months of unpaid monthly amortizations with Government Financial Institutions and housing agencies may apply for loan restructuring and condonation.

The program is open even to borrowers who have already benefited from a previous restructuring and condonation program.

It covers housing loan accounts with institutions like GSIS, SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund, National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, Social Housing Finance Corporation, Home Guaranty Corporation and National Housing Authority, with principal loan amounts not exceeding P2.5 million.

All penalties and surcharges of a loan approved for restructuring under this program shall be condoned. A reasonable portion of the accrued interest may also be condoned at the discretion of the respective boards of the concerned GFIs or housing agencies.

The remaining accrued interest will be treated as a non-interest bearing principal to be equally paid during the term of the restructured loan.


Homeowners buck SM highrise on Katipunan

[ ] February 28-March1, 2009 ]

By Joel M. Sy Egco

Parishioners and residents of gated enclaves along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City are up against a plan of SM Development Corp. to erect a 31-storey commercial and residential condominium.

Fr. Emmanuelo Sarez, parish priest of the Sta. Maria della Strada church at the corner of Pansol St., yesterday led officers of the parish and homeowners associations in denouncing three city councilors to exempt the planned Stanford Residences from local building height and traffic regulations.

Sarez and La Vista Homeowners Association president Renato Romero, residents of Loyola Grand Villas and Bgy. Pansol residents, among other groups, attended the public hearing by the committee on city planning, building and zoning on a proposed resolution filed by the councilors granting the special accommodation.

The hearing was deferred on a last minute notice that committee chairman RJ Belonte would be unable to attend because he was reportedly on his honeymoon; but the groups decided to air their objections.

“The SM’s move to seek exemption from the provision of Art. VI Sec. 4 [traffic generation] and Sec. 11 [height regulation] of the comprehensive zoning ordinance no. SP-918, S-2000, reflects corporate insensitivity to the potential negative impact of its action on existing communities and parishes in the Katipunan area,” a position letter submitted by the oppositors said.

They were referring to Proposed Resolution 09-58 authored by Councilors Victor Ferrer, Jesus Suntay and Winston Castelo, which would authorize the issuance of certificate of exemption to SMDC.

Stanford Residences high-rise is designed for 1,316 units with a roofdeck on a site near the Petron gasoline station and Miriam College.

Former Senator Francisco Tatad acted as spokesman for La Vista residents, echoing their apprehension that the project would worsen the traffic congestion in the vicinity, among other concerns.

SMDC representatives sat out the proceedings without making any comment.

The measure’s authors said the project “will not adversely affect the public health, safety and welfare and the appropriate use of the adjoining property, it also provides and promotes livelihood.”

But the letter signed by Sarez and 10 other parishioners indicated otherwise.

“We equally oppose the rhetorical claims of [Castelo, Ferrer and Suntay], who support the [SMDC project]... what could have been the empirical bases of such statement? Was there an environmental impact assessment done? Were there prior consultations with the affected stakeholders and parishioners of the Sta. Maria della Strada Parish regarding their perceived impact of the project for our local councilors to be able to make such claims?” the group asked.

“Adding 1,316 residential with few commercial units will only worsen the present traffic situation. Will the SMDC provide the necessary infrastructure to ease the traffic congestion in the area?” they asked.

“Will the SMDC invest in the upgrade and modernization of the utilities and infrastructures needed to service the affected households?”

The hearing was set for next week when Belmonte would be expected to return from his honeymoon.


Rd project [ Sangley Pt., Cavite ]

March 01, 2009 07:33 PM Sunday [ ]

A militant solon has urged the House leadership to conduct an inquiry into the questionable Manila-Cavite road extension project which may affect some 26,000 fisher folk and urban poor families.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano has filed House Resolution 1004 directing the House Committees on Environment and Ecology to look into the project and determine if there are violations.

Mariano expressed fear that the project will remove thousands of fisher folk and poor families from their main source of livelihood and habitat.

On June 21, 2007, President Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Executive Order No. 629 which directed the Philippine Reclamation Authority to convert Sangley Point, Cavite City into an international logistics hub with modern seaport and airport through an enabling reclamation component, the R-1 Expressway Extension Project.

The 7-km R-1 Expressway Extension Project will involve the reclamation of 7,500 hectares of submerged public land and mangrove areas in Manila Bay to connect the Manila-Cavite Road from Bacoor to Kawit, and will continue inland up to Noveleta, Cavite for a total of 11 kilometers. Jester P. Manalastas


Air, sea travels to boost tourism in Sipalay

Saturday, February 28, 2009 [ ]

SIPALAY City, an internationally acclaimed tourist spot, is mulling on opening its port to a ferry system and operating an airstrip in a bid to improve transportation going to the city and boost tourism in the area.

Sipalay City Mayor Soledad Montilla said the city aims to ensure a sustainable tourism industry by putting in place plans to make it accessible by air and sea to local and foreign tourists.

City officials are now coordinating with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the neighboring islands to realize the plan.

"As a support to tourism, we have now taken steps to have our Campomanes Eco pier to be included in with the port system of the PPA," she said.

Talks are also ongoing with neighboring places like Puerto Princesa and Antique for the opening of a ferry service connecting to the locality in coordination with Maritime authorities.

Furthermore, "we have explored the possibility of operating an old mining airstrip to boost tourist arrival in the city," Montilla added.

More plans are being put up to maximize the potential of the beach, scuba and leisure paradise that captured the fancy of more than 27,386 foreign and local tourists last year.

Montilla revealed that tourism has always been the lifeblood of the city since 2,000 when it embarked on a tourism program that led them to where they are right now.

"A lot more work is still to be done yet the important factor is we have already laid down the foundation for a tourism development framework that is economically viable and environmentally sound."


Metropolitan Theater restoration rushed

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 28, 2009

Genalyn Kabiling

President Arroyo yesterday ordered authorities to speed up restoration of majestic Manila Metropolitan Theater for its soft opening this coming June.

The President inspected the heritage landmark in Manila, currently undergoing an initial R50 million rehabilitation to return to its original state of glory, and gave new deadline to National Commission for Culture and Arts.

"The revival of the Met is being fast tracked because of the directive of the President to really rebuild this people’s theater and make it accessible immediately," NCCA executive director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez told reporters at the Palace.

"It was promised that by June there will bee a soft launch and will be probably used by the city of Manila for the 50th anniversary celebration of the friendship between the Philippines and South Korea," she added.

Alvarez, also presidential adviser on culture, said the government will infuse another R50 million into the restoration project of Metropolitan theater to ensure its full operations by December.

Alvarez credited the President for her timely intervention to facilitate the immediate restoration of the Metropolitan Theater, built in the art deco style in 1931, amid bickering between the Manila City government and the Government Insurance Service System over ownership and management of the facility. "Kung hindi pumasok ang Pangulo, wala ng resolusyon dyan, talagang sarado dyan" Alvarez said.

During its heyday, the Metropolitan Theater was a venue for cultural entertainment like zarzuelas, plays, and operas. The theater, built by architects Juan Arellano Francisco Monti and Isabelo Tampinco, was damaged during the Manila for Manila in February 1945 and began slowly deteriorating.


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