Marcos inaugurates national housing program in Cebu

By Elizabeth Marcelo, Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star
February 28, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos led the groundbreaking for a government housing project in Cebu City yesterday as part of his target to build six million houses during his term – a goal that he described as a “big challenge” but “not impossible.”

The Cebu City South Coastal Urban Development Housing Project forms part of the government flagship program Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino, which aims to provide housing units to minimum wage earners, informal settlers, people living in danger zones and those looking for affordable shelters.

Marcos said the government is working to address the housing backlog in the country, which has reached 6.5 million.

“Alam ko na ito ay isang malaking hamon, ngunit buo ang tiwala ko na hindi ito imposible (I know this is a big challenge but I am fully confident that it is not impossible),” the President said during the event, held at South Road Properties in Basak San Nicolas.

“With the help of our diligent personnel in DHSUD (Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development) led by Secretary Jerry Acuzar, I believe we can achieve it under my term. I am again challenging the DHSUD to remain steadfast in fulfilling our promise to provide affordable and decent homes to our needy countrymen,” he added.

The President called on agencies to ensure that the housing units are disaster-resilient.

He revealed the government is also planning to build facilities like schools, markets and health centers near the housing units.

“We have to ensure that our countrymen will live in a safe and productive community,” the Chief Executive said.

“Rest assured, Mr. President, that we will double our efforts for the successful implementation of the ‘Pambansang Pabahay,’” Acuzar for his part said.

“We will sustain the positive momentum to achieve our goal of building one million housing units annually in the next six years,” he added.

Also with Marcos during the ceremony were Speaker Martin Romualdez, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

The Cebu City groundbreaking ceremony is the 16th of such events throughout the country since the Pambansang Pabahay was launched last September.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office said the Marcos administration would provide around 30,000 housing units for Cebu City residents under the housing program.

The first phase of the Cebu City South Coastal Urban Development Housing Project covers ten 20-story buildings within the 25-hectare development and is expected to benefit about 8,000 informal settler families and low-wage earners in the city.

The entire project is composed of three phases in different areas in Cebu City covering a total of 60 hectares.

According to Marcos, the government has facilitated the groundbreaking of close to 600,000 houses.

“Our target really is one million a year. We will work to achieve that. If it does not happen this year, we will fast-track the processes next year so that our average will be one million a year,” he said.

Marcos pointed out that housing is the only solution to informal settling. He said the government has adopted systems to ensure that the houses would not be transferable.

“If they can afford to rent it (housing unit) out, they do not need it. We will give it to those who really need it, those who won’t earn money from it, those who will not rent it out,” he said.

The government, Marcos added, would find ways to delay the payment of the amortization of needy housing beneficiaries.

“We will ensure that the monthly amortization for houses will be affordable so we are continuously coordinating with Congress to make the program successful,” he said.