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DTI prefers low-cost condos

By Othel V. Campos | Mar. 31, 2014 at 12:01am [ manilastandardtoday.com ]

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the government may consider tax incentives to affordable medium-rise condominiums in Metro Manila that will house ordinary workers near factories and offices.

“I’m biased against horizontal development [subdivisions] because that’s a very inefficient use of land. It takes away land that could be used for agriculture. The preference should be on vertical [developments]. If you look at well-planned economies, they try really to minimize horizontal development,” Domingo said over the weekend.

Domingo said the government would continue to provide support to socialized housing and middle-income housing projects in the upcoming 2014 Investment Priorities Plan, but new projects should involve vertical developments.

He encouraged real estate developers to launch low to mid-rise, low-cost and mid-range housing projects for ordinary employees, instead of dispersing them to far-flung areas away from work sites.

“Why should we allow them to have a three- to four-hour ride everyday? We should encourage people to be able to live in more affordable housing closer to work. Maybe, it is now possible to do socialized housing in a vertical platform,” he said.

He said decongesting Metro Manila by dispersing families to the rural areas was not an option yet because of the lack of infrastructure, such as rail lines, schools, utilities and roads.

“Until such a time that infrastructures are in place, it doesn’t make sense to push people out [of Metro Manila]. The cost to the economy in lost productive hours shall be recovered if they lie near their places of work,” said Domingo.

He said the vertical design would make it possible to build affordable housing for common workers and employees within the highly-populated and urbanized Greater Manila Area.

Domingo said the government would allow the private sector to take a shot at vertical socialized housing.

“The government’s role is to provide what the private sector cannot to the extent that the private sector could fill the gap. We should allow them to do so. We should not compete with the private sector. The government should only step in if the private sector fails,” he said.

A group of real estate developers and builders earlier expressed optimism about continued government support for socialized housing projects in the 2014 IPP.
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