The country’s largest organization of key real estate industry players is pressing for a full-fledged department that will solve the country’s perennial and ever-increasing housing backlog.
This call took a high pitch recently as the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations (CREBA) put the final touches to preparations for its grand national convention at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City on October 7-10.
CREBA national convention chairman Florante C. Ofrecio said guests to the event include Senate urban development, housing and resettlement committee chairman Sen. Joseph Victor G. Ejercito; House committee on housing and urban development chairman Rep. Alfredo B. Benitez; Home Development Mutual Fund president and chief executive officer Darlene Marie B. Berberabe; Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board chief executive officer Commissioner Antonio M. Bernardo; and League of Municipalities of the Philippines national president Mayor Leonardo M. Javier Jr. of Javier, Leyte, among others.
CREBA national chairman Charlie A.V. Gorayeb said industry leaders from various sectors and other celebrities would also join the convention to signify support for the proposed Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) to wipe out the housing backlog, which stood at 5.5 million units as of 2014.
“The backlog couldn’t have risen to this gargantuan level had CREBA’s long-proposed DHUD been legislated and enacted into law,” he said. “Only a full-fledged department can consolidate government efforts and keep everything on track along a well-planned strategic framework to attain a vision. But even a vision for the country’s housing needs would be difficult to come by in a discordant orchestra without a maestro to keep the symphony from going out of tune. So what you end up with is a perfect recipe for a housing backlog.”
The bill on the creation of a DHUD has been pending in Congress for more than two decades. “Yet, the Constitution underscores the importance of housing and urban development as a basic human need and as a means to improve the life of the people. So something must be wrong somewhere and you have some 5.5-million housing backlog to tell you exactly just where it is,” said CREBA national president Noel Toti M. Carino.
The creation of the DHUD forms part of CREBA’s 5-point agenda to help address the country’s 5.5-million housing backlog, and turn the industry into a powerful economic growth engine. The other four points of the agenda are long-term and affordable funds for socialized and economic housing; affordable homes for employees in urban areas; lands for residential, commercial and industrial development; and efficient local government housing regulations.