Challenges facing Mass Housing in the Philippines

One major hurdle in providing mass housing is the lack of financial support.

Last June 29, 2017, the Futuristics Center held a half-day conference on Philippine mass housing. Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) gave the key presentation. Asec. Tolentino unequivocally expressed that there is a segment of the population that cannot afford housing. As of Jan. 1, 2017, there are 765,045 households who are living in unacceptable housing. Majority of whom (513,022 households) live in housing units without the consent of owner. Table 1 presents the breakdown of the aforementioned segment.

Households in Unacceptable Housing Units

Rent-free Without Consent of Owner 513,022
Homeless 5,192
Dilapidated/Condemned 87,025
Makeshift/Salvaged Materials 159,807
Total 765,045

Table 1 Breakdown of Households in Unacceptable Housing Unit
Source: Tolentino, Avelino D., III. The Philippine Mass Housing: Status and Updates. PDF.

One major hurdle in providing mass housing is the lack of financial support. From 2008 to 2010, its allocation was about .40 to .45 percent of the entire national budget ranging from Php 4.9 to 5.3 billion. From 2011 to 2016, percent budget allocation slightly grew from .63 to 1.6 ranging from Php 11.5 to 37.7 billion. In 2017, the budget allocation was about 15 billion, with .45 percent share of the entire budget.

Appropriations for the Housing Sector

Year

Appropriations for Housing

% Share

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

4.964 Billion

5.293 Billion

5.391 Billion

21.106 Billion

11.491 Billion

32.120 Billion

37.668 Billion

23.20 Billion

33.38 Billion

14.987 Billion

.40

.45

.41

1.28

.63

1.60

1.66

.89

1.11

.45

Table 2 Total Appropriations for the Housing Sector per year
Source: Tolentino, Avelino D., III. The Philippine Mass Housing: Status and Updates. PDF.

The HUDCC also faces a number of challenges in obtaining land for housing. Its main issues are affordability, identification of lands and titling. It also has to consider suitability and wait periods for certification from appropriate government agencies.

Finally, substantial amount of time is needed from inception of the project until completion of construction. The process to get the housing project approved is particularly arduous. Asec. Tolentino shares that the process of getting housing projects takes 1 to 3 years, involves 27 offices, 78 permits, 146 signatures, 373 documents. Froilan Kampitan of the National Housing Authority (NHA) also shares that its takes around 2 and ½ years to construct a community.

Nevertheless, the government is working tirelessly to meet the housing needs of those who need it the most.  Currently, the NHA has been constructing in-city relocation housing.  NHA so far has completed 200 buildings in Metro Manila with 60 units each.  He further relates that construction of offsite relocation/resettlement has had its own challenges. It could get very expensive as aside from building houses, support services are also needed such as water, power drainage, sewerage, health care and access to livelihood.