In Photo (from L-R) Rep. Florida Robes, Vice Mayor Efren Bartolome, Mayor Arthur Robes, DHSUD Sec. Eduardo del Rosario, NHA GM Marcelino Escalada, Jr., and Councilor Dr. Rosalyn Cabucao, during the housing forum held on March 10, 2021 in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

In a forum sponsored by House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Vice Chair Florida “Rida” P. Robes and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan City Mayor Arthur B. Robes, last March 10, 2021, entitled “Building Better Homes, Living Sustainable Lives” NHA General Manager, Marcelino P. Escalada, Jr., asked Congress to increase the housing sector’s budget allocation. 

Speaking before local government officials and members of the House of Representatives, GM Escalada stressed the need for additional budget for the housing agencies due to the increasing demand for housing vis-a-vis the housing backlog.

According to GM Escalada, housing remains a perennial problem of the country. Its demand continues to increase due to the growing population and the frequent onslaught of natural disasters and calamities. 

Currently, he said, the housing backlog is now recorded at 3.9 million. The housing gap would persist and hit 6.5 million by 2030 even if housing production would average 200,000 per year until 2030. 

GM Escalada said this is short of the housing sector’s commitment to construct at least 250,000 housing units every year to which NHA shares the construction of 50,000 units per year. Thus, an additional Php 47 billion funding support is needed to deliver this target. 

The NHA, he said, has implemented 35 resettlement projects in San Jose del Monte alone that benefitted more than 70,000 families from both formal and informal sectors, and under the Duterte Administration, the Authority has provided housing to more than 260,000 families. 

The projects, he added, are intended not only to address the increasing demand for housing but more importantly, to uplift the lives of the homeless Filipinos, saying, “what we build are not just houses, what we build is liveable and sustainable communities”.

GM Escalada emphasized the importance of Congress’s invaluable assistance to housing agencies in addressing the country’s housing problem. For without the budget support coming from Congress, housing needs will continue to escalate.

“The housing sector is working doubly hard to address the increasing demand for housing, and we cannot do this alone. We need congress leadership to heed our call for an increase in our budget allocation,” he said.

GM Escalada extended his gratitude to House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco and House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairperson Francisco “Kiko” B. Benitez for sponsoring the extension of NHA’s New Charter.

He also thanked NHA’s partners and stakeholders from the private sector for their support of the government’s housing programs and asked the local government partners to continue working with the government in the implementation of sustainable housing projects by creating more prospects of investments and continuing service to homeless Filipinos. 

Meanwhile, other notable government officials who graced the forum were Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, DHSUD Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino III, and NHA Region III Manager Meliza S. Benedito.