In a nation grappling with a staggering backlog of 6.7 million housing units, addressing housing needs remains a huge challenge. Yet, various stakeholders continue to collaborate and seek solutions, through platforms such as the Philippines Housing Forum, hosted recently by Habitat for Humanity Philippines at the New World Makati Hotel.
The biennial event gathered participants from national and local government, the private sector, civil society organizations, academia and more for a people-centered, action-driven face-to-face forum. This year’s forum was a prelude to the 9th Asia Pacific Housing Forum in South Korea to be held later this month and the recent Philippine Urban Forum in Manila.
Monique Lopez, chair of the National Board of Trustees for Habitat Philippines, affirmed their organization’s commitment: “As we mark our 35th-year milestone, Habitat for Humanity Philippines continues its commitment to help more low-income and informal settler families access decent, affordable housing and urge leaders and policymakers to create an environment that enables this.”
Under the theme, “Facilitating Sustainable and Affordable Housing in Low-Income and Informal Settlements,” the forum centered on two pivotal tracks during its plenary sessions. The first track delved into solutions to address the housing deficit, with a keen focus on making housing programs inclusive, affordable, well-planned, and involving multi-stakeholder participation.
Supporting these multi-sectoral efforts were major real estate firms like Ayala Land Inc. and Megaworld Corp., both staunch advocates of the forum’s goals.
Ayala Land, the Philippines’ largest property developer, expressed its dedication to nation-building through affordable housing, stating, “We consider affordable housing a fundamental aspect of sustainable development.”
Megaworld echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of forging strategic partnerships to tackle the monumental housing challenge in the Philippines.
The second track explored policies and partnerships promoting access to resilient yet affordable construction technologies and methodologies.
Supported by Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, the session highlighted the value of investing in resilient construction technologies and crafting policies for disaster-resilient, affordable housing for informal settler families.
Jessan Catre, TCIS Philippine country director, and a forum speaker, shared, “Through the session, we can further highlight how we can start making ‘greenclusive’ (green and inclusive) housing more affordable and accessible.”
The afternoon breakout sessions featured experts from governance, architecture and sustainable development fields. Insights from these sessions will shape the Philippine New Urban Agenda Country Report and the Manila Urban Declaration.
In the pursuit of sustainable, affordable housing for all, the Philippines Housing Forum serves as a beacon of hope, bringing together diverse stakeholders to forge a path toward a better future.