The country’s new housing czar has hit the ground running, preparing to forge partnerships with the private sector to fast-track land development in the country.
Immediate priority is assisting residents affected by the July 27 earthquake which struck Northern Luzon, by ensuring the speedy construction of resettlement sites.
Thus, newly-appointed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Acuzar has been presiding over emergency meetings to consolidate and expedite the government’s assistance efforts.
Emergency Housing Assistance Program
Acuzar is in discussions with some of the country’s biggest developers to explore potential development projects for the affected residents whose houses were either destroyed or damaged by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
“We have been providing emergency shelter assistance since the earthquake happened in the form of temporary shelter materials and now with financial assistance through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP). We now need a proactive response through a more permanent solution to the damage this calamity has caused. Building shelters should now become a priority. We need help from our private partners for us to do that,” Acuzar said.
The DHSUD has been entering into agreements with local governments and the private sector for various housing-related development projects around the country through the incentivized compliance to balanced housing program.
For Abra, DHSUD is eyeing three resettlement sites for quake-affected residents with a potential to build 930 housing units in the municipalities of Tayum, Bucay and Peñarrubia.
According to the DHSUD Regional Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region, upon validation with the National Housing Authority and the local government, Abra recorded 264 totally destroyed houses while 19,165 were partially damaged in the municipalities of Tayum, Bangued, Bucay, Pidigan, La Paz and San Quintin.
“I recognize our funding limitations in the government. But we cannot stop there. We need to explore other means, for as long as it is legally allowed, to provide for the housing needs of our fellow Filipinos. The active participation of our partners in the private sector will be a big boost for this purpose. I will personally see to it that this will successfully come into fruition,” he said.
President Marcos has directed the DHSUD, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of National Defense and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to closely monitor the progress of assistance being provided to the victims of the recent earthquake.
Moving forward, the DHSUD is likewise keen on expanding public-private partnerships to other projects that would improve Filipinos’ access to housing.
Last month, Marcos sworn Acuzar into office, succeeding Eduardo Del Rosario. Acuzar is an industry veteran who is behind some of the biggest housing and condominium projects in the country, including the internationally acclaimed Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.