[ manilastandardtoday.com ] January 8-9, 2011
REAL estate developers on Friday appealed to the Board of Investments not to reduce to P2 million from P3 million the price ceiling on low-cost housing, saying that will shrink their market.
“Also, developers may no longer produce that package [P3 million] anymore if the ceiling on low-cost mass housing would be reduced to P2 million,” Charlie Gorayeb, president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association, said during a public consultation on the Board of Investments’ Investment Priorities Plan this year.
But Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said the main purpose of reducing the price ceiling was “to help those living [and working] within the urban areas.”
He cited a recent study showing that a couple earning P50,000 a month could not afford to buy a house costing more than P2 million.
“That is the [Board of Investments’] calculation, so the only way to make these low-cost mass housing affordable is to reduce the price ceiling to P2 million,” Panlilio said.
Mass housing is one of the preferred activities retained in the list of projects under the draft of the investment board’s Investment Priorities Plan this year.
The others are agriculture, agribusiness, fisheries, the creative industries, shipbuilding, energy, infrastructure, research and development, green projects, tourism and strategic projects.
Earlier, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council said it was considering cutting by half the price ceiling on the low-cost condominiums built by developers availing themselves of the government’s tax breaks. The agency defines low-cost housing as those that cost between P751,000 and P3 million.
Socialized housing units cost P400,000 or less, and economic housing units are those that cost between P401,000 and P750,000.
The Board of Investments granted income tax breaks to the makers of low-cost and socialized mass housing under the 2010 Investment Priorities Plan.
Meanwhile, Petron Corp. has appealed to the board to still include it in the future IPP list so it could avail itself of government incentives.
Oil storage facilities are included under the board’s infrastructure projects category that covers transport, water, logistics, and waste management facilities and physical infrastructures like toll roads, highways and railways.
The Pandacan oil depot supplies 1,800 gas stations in Metro Manila and the provinces, 70 percent of the shipping industry’s fuel requirements, 90 percent of the lubricants nationwide, and 75 percent of the aviation industry’s fuel. Julito G. Rada