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Not enough land for housing

By Othel V. Campos | Jul. 19, 2015 at 11:40pm [ manilastandardtoday.com ]
Property developers expressed concern over the lack of available land to address the massive housing requirement of a growing Philippine population. 
The Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines Inc. said just about 2.52 percent of the total land in the country had been mapped out as suitable for housing development in 2012 from 1.27 percent in 2003. 
“Unless a socially acceptable definition and policy is adopted, the proposed measure must be held in abeyance,” the group said in a position paper in response to the proposed National Land Use Act. 
The total land area in the country, according to government data, is estimated at 30 million hectares, including 14.2 million hectares or 47.32 percent considered alienable and disposable area and 15.8 million hectares or 52.68 percent classified as forestland. 
The total built-up area, considered to be part of forestland, is 2.52 percent or 755,009 hectares. Built-up areas are those with structures like roads and other infrastructures. 
The group cited a need to revisit the proposed policy of protecting prime agricultural lands in the NLUA due to the growing housing needs and other competing interests. 
It noted that despite increasing land allocation for agricultural use, the  sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product was still smaller compared with Southeast Asian neighbors like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. 
Industry projections show Philippine housing needs up to 2016 would reach 5.53 million units and require about 43,726 to 73,043 hectares, depending on the use of land resources, whether vertical or horizontal. The estimate includes socialized housing. 
Socialized housing covers residential subdivision and medium-rise condominium units below P1.2 million, while economic housing covers subdivisions and medium-rise buildings sold above P1.25 million but not more than P3.2 million. 
The group is serious in resolving the 5.5 million housing backlog and build as much as 500,000 units each year for the next 20 years. 
The property builders said the government should support the creation of as much as 10 million housing units by 2025 because the problem was taking its toll on the people’s economic and social growth. 

Philippine housing backlog stood at close to 4 million, with over 75 percent classified as informal settlers living in urban centers.
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