Home building for nation-building

Home building is the best form of nation-building as it provides much-needed jobs, thereby pump-priming the economy.

Let us transform our current backlog—6.5 million in housing—into a golden opportunity to help our country. We can do this by building low-cost housing for the struggling poor, while doing our share in the recovery of our battered economy.

I have always believed that the recovery of our economy from the pandemic will be spearheaded by the real estate industry.

Admirable property developments—from purely residential communities and condominium units to functional and well-designed township developments— are all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

In addition to their already remarkable contribution in providing the housing needs of people, I am fervently hoping that they will contribute more to meet the requirements of the low-cost housing sector.

Kudos to Ayala Land Inc., SM Development Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., Megaworld, Filinvest Land Inc., Federal Land, Anchor Land, Cathay Land, DMCI Homes, Vista Land, and many other developers for continuously building homes all over the Philippines, even during the difficult and challenging times of the pandemic.

Golden opportunity

There are five very promising sites for mid-rise residential buildings within the vicinity of future Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects of the government:

• LRT-6A Bacoor to Dasmarinas Cavite (Continuation to LRT1 Cavite Ext.)

• LRT-6B Sucat Line (along A. Santos Ave.)

• LRT-6C NAIA to Sucat to Las Pinas to Molino, Cavite

• C5 MRT10 Along C5 from Commonwealth Ave. to NAIA

• MRT11 Along Quirino Ave. Quezon City, from Balintawak to North Caloocan

Since these five projects are situated in highly urbanized areas within the National Capital Region (NCR) and the suburbs, much of the land within the vicinity of these projects have been considered for acquisition by the big real estate companies.

Still, I am hoping that the current administration of President Marcos, which is very serious in addressing the housing backlog, will be able to acquire lands in the concerned areas at least for low-cost mid-rise residential buildings similar to those in Hong Kong and Singapore.

There are more opportunities in NCR to Sta. Rosa–Strategic Socio-Economic Corridor for low-cost mid-rise residential buildings and the Baclaran-Bacoor-Dasmarinas-Silang-Nuvali-Sta. Rosa- Binan areas.

The ongoing LRT1 Cavite Extension Project from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite, is to be extended in the near future to Dasmarinas.

I sincerely believe that in order to promote this strategic socio-economic corridor from the NCR passing through the highly populated towns of the provinces of Cavite and Laguna, mobility of the people should be improved to complement the soon-to-be-completed CALAX project of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

The whole length of this socio-economic corridor could also accommodate possible mid-rise residential buildings similar to those in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Relocate warehouses

I believe it is high time for the government to seriously consider the mandatory relocation of old, messy, and hazardous warehouses and factories in the NCR so the government, in partnership with interested private entities and foreign investors, can construct low-cost residential buildings in these areas.

Build, Build, Build + Bahay, Bahay, Bahay

Combining infrastructure with housing or BBB+BBB (Build, Build, Build + Bahay, Bahay, Bahay) will go a long way in providing jobs all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, on a continuing basis while at the same time aggressively addressing our 6.5 million backlog in housing.

However, I have noticed that low-cost housing has been largely minimal in the highly profitable areas due mainly to the land banking by real estate developers.

In view of this, I believe that the current administration of President Marcos, through Congress, should somehow correct the housing backlog by institutionalizing measures to allot a reasonable percentage of lots for low-cost housing in areas available for development, especially those within the various infrastructure projects all over the Philippines.

Let’s build more homes so we can continuously build a better nation.

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Alex Serrano is an engineer based in Bicol with a passion for churning out ideas for a better Philippines.