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P100K low-cost houses pushed

BY IRMA ISIP
[ Malaya.com.ph ] December 29, 2010
Pag-IBIG Fund is encouraging the development of low-cost socialized house with units costing as low as P100,000 to make them affordable to the poor.
Edgardo Lacson, a member of the board of the Fund, said the current P400,000 cost of socialized housing units translates to a monthly amortization of P1,000 which is still not within the reach of the poor.
"We want to make it as affordable to as low as P200 to P300 a month in amortization," Lacson said.
Lacson said this is a faster way of addressing the 4 million-housing backlog.
"With only 400,000 units being built every year, how can we catch up? We need to think out of the box. We want to update the backlog in six years. We want real low-cost housing. It’s easier in the pockets of borrowers," said Lacson.
Lacson said the Fund is in talks with contractors/construction associations as well as pre-fab housing developer Vazbuilt on how cost of housing unit can be brought down to as low as P100,000.
"With pre-fab technology, you can actually build a house in one day. Houses are expensive because sizes differ. Even small units would be more decent compared to shanties (barong-barong)," Lacson said.
He said local government units would be tapped to come up with the land as counterpart.
"We provide the houses, they provide the land," Lacson said.
Lacson also said the backlog is not adequately addressed because various agencies have their own program on housing.
Among the agencies implementing housing programs are the National Housing Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. On the financing side, there are the Social Security System and the AFP Savings and Loans Association Inc.
"Their operations should be rationalized. We need a national housing policy. With a unified program, processes and prices will be standardized," Lacson said.
He said this can be addressed through the creation of a Department of National Shelter or the crafting of a National Shelter Program.
To put the finances of the Fund in order, Lacson said there is a need to clean up its records and sell its repossessed assets and re-channel the fund to socialized housing.
Lacson is also supportive of the idea of limiting incentives to projects outside the National Capital Region.
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