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HUDCC urged to drop P3-m ceiling on mass housing projects

by Julito G. Rada
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] April 25, 2011
The Board of Investments urged the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council to drop its stance that low-cost mass housing projects in the country should remain at P3 million per unit.
Trade Undersecretary and BoI managing head Cristino Panlilio said the issue had delayed the approval of the 2011 Investment Priorities Plan, which the Trade Department submitted to MalacaƱang in the middle of February this year. The BoI favored a lower price cap of P2.5 million.
“I talked with the Vice President [and HUDCC chairman Jejomar Binay] today [April 20] on the phone and I recommended to him to withdraw his position on this. He said he will study the BoI position and we will be meeting in a week,” Panlilio told reporters over the weekend.
The BoI said mass housing projects must continue receiving incentives under the 2011 IPP to make them more affordable to the people.
The BoI defended its inclusion in the 2011 IPP despite the reluctance of the Finance Department to grant fiscal incentives. Finance said the sector would remain profitable even without incentives.
The BoI during the drafting of the 2011 IPP had thought of tightening the rules on incentives by lowering the mass housing cap to P2 million from P3 million. Developers opposed the idea, saying it would shrink their market.
But Panlilio said a lower price ceiling of P2 million would “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.
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