“It’s not impossible to build quality, in fact we are already doing it right now,” NHA General Manager Marcelino P. Escalda, Jr. announces to all National Housing Authority (NHA) employees as he leads the “New NHA” in providing safe, affordable and innovative housing solutions for the public.

The “New NHA” GM Escalada refers to is the NHA under the Duterte administration. With President Rodrigo Roa Duterte taking the lead in housing breakthroughs, the NHA is now parading its latest accomplishments and policy developments on fast-tracking housing delivery for the Filipino people, promoting due diligence, transparency, accountability of its personnel and strict policy implementation towards termination of developers, filing legal cases to housing sellers and buyers. NHA’s recent bandwagon, “Building a Culture of Quality,” spells its commitment to quality housing provision in support to the battle cry of fellow Key Shelter Agencies’ (KSAs) BALAI or Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable and Inclusive Filipino Communities.

Inheriting problematic/failed projects from past leaderships, GM Escalada faced all issues head-on as he introduced and adapted measures that enabled the Authority to immensely address each issue.

Earlier this year, Casa San Miguel in the Province of Tarlac and Christine Villas in Lanao Del Norte became the newest addition to the growing number of housing projects intended for the uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) while Madayaw Residences in Brgy. Talomo, Davao City, and Scout Ranger Ville in San Miguel, Bulacan are two other projects implemented in 2017 under the new market- and demand-based AFP/PNP Housing Program Construction. In contrast to the previous models, the new housing units are made more spacious to address the demand stemming from the uniformed personnel to have new designs and modalities that are acceptable and ready for occupancy (RFO) to end-users. New designs include a low-rise building (42sqm; 24 sqm), and duplex units with 150 sqm lot area (60 sqm floor area), respectively.

On the other hand, deadlines are being set for the construction of housing projects for Pablo, Sendong, and Yolanda, to fast-track distribution to the beneficiaries. To do this, NHA strengthened its coordination with the Local Government Units (LGUs) and the Provincial Inter-Agency Committee (PROVIAC). GM Escalada Jr. emphasized this during the turnover of developed sites and completed housing units to Typhoon Pablo victims in Compostela Valley on August 30, 2017 at the Capitol Bldg., Cabidianan, Nabunturan. During the event, GM Escalada stated, “The only secret for project implementation to be faster and more efficient is allowing local government units nationwide to participate in project development, because no amount of national project can ever succeed without their full cooperation.”

In November 2017, NHA officially opened its doors to private developers, to enlighten stakeholders on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program. Through the PPP, NHA is provided opportunities to develop High-Impact Projects (HIP) and accomplish its target through direct housing production and township development in different major cities of the country.

Meanwhile, in one of his updates delivered during the Flag Raising Ceremony in February this year, GM Escalada ordered the Visayas Area Management Office to ensure the completion and turnover of the remaining Yolanda Projects by the end of December 2019. He also directed NHA Regional Managers to revisit the project contracts and disapprove the contractors’ request for exemption and suspensions if they are not valid. “It’s about time that we impose NHA’s authority over them to comply with the minimum requirements of construction period. Otherwise, if we will still be considerate about all of their requests, abutin na lang tayo ng 2025, hindi pa din matapos ang Yolanda,” GM Escalada exclaimed.

On April 6, 2018, NHA filed charges against the original owners and the buyer of the duplex unit in Brgy. Tulungatung, Zamboanga City that collapsed mid of February 2018 for disregarding NHA policies, rules, and regulations on Housing Loan Agreement. Beneficiaries Amrin Joe Pakkal and Sarip Juamad Ismail, together with the buyer named Ali-Akbal Mohammad Kahal were charged before the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court after being involved in selling, buying, and altering NHA housing units – a gross violation of the contract signed between the awardees and NHA. Upon learning of the crashing incident, GM Escalada ordered the strict imposition of the terms and conditions of contracts between the beneficiaries and the Authority. “Review the contracts, impose the terms and conditions of contracts,” he said, further warning NHA beneficiaries not to engage in such activity as stricter penalties await them.

In other news, the Authority is now preparing to start the construction of temporary shelters for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Marawi City at Site 2, Brgy. Sagonsongan. The temporary shelters will be built on 54-sqm lots with 22-sqm floor area. These are all single-detached, pre-fabricated units with individual power and water installations. NHA also made its Marawi projects fully-developed with concrete roads, drainage system and community facilities in accordance to President Duterte’s instruction to make the sites livable and comfortable to its dwellers. The Marawi siege survivors can stay in their temporary shelters for two to three years while permanent shelters are being constructed and their homes which they own in the city are being rebuilt. As of April 13, 2018, 649 keys were turned over to Marawi IDPs.

Furthermore, NHA also earned the support of Pag-IBIG Fund, a fellow KSA, in initiating the collection of housing amortization for NHA’s formal sector housing beneficiaries. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on this was inked last April 5, 2018.

After barely two years of taking over the reins of the Authority, NHA’s new administration is taking huge efforts in delivering improved service to its clientele. Despite the flak being hurled against it, the Authority and its employees are one in their vow of Building a Culture of Quality in the housing provision.