Jose Rizalino “Jerry” L. Acuzar was named Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) in July last year by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Upon appointment, he vowed to pursue the government’s ambitious plan to build 1 million homes annually over the next six years through the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino (4PH) Program.
The administration’s flagship program aims to construct 6.15 million housing units over the next six years, transform informal settlements into prime residential sites and waterfronts, and rehabilitate esteros, according to a government yearend report.
Among the features of the program are in-city resettlement, high-density/vertical housing in highly urbanized areas, utilization of idle government lands and support of government financial institutions and private banks to provide loans and end-user financing, among others. Project construction has, in fact, already begun in various locations across the country.
As early as September last year, the DHSUD already held the first groundbreaking ceremony of a housing project in support of the 4PH Program. It will rise in Harmony Hills Terraces in Barangay Batasan Hills.
From the launch of the program, five other housing projects have been inaugurated in two weeks, including Mariveles Town in Bataan and in the cities of Marikina, Bacolod, Roxas and Iloilo. These first six housing projects formed part of the 100-day accomplishments of Mr. Marcos under the housing sector.
Since that time, more groundbreaking ceremonies for housing projects have been conducted in several local governments, namely, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija; Carmona, Cavite; Tanauan City, Batangas; Mandaue City, Cebu; Sta. Barbara, Iloilo; Victorias City, Iloilo; Carles, Iloilo; Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and Cauayan City, Isabela.
By the end of 2022, the DHSUD sealed 43 memorandums of understanding for the 4PH program with local government units (LGUs) across the country.
Transforming idle land
There were also talks last year that the President will be signing an executive order (EO) mandating various government agencies, particularly the DHSUD, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of the Interior and Local Government, to conduct an inventory and to identify approximately 16,000 ha of state-owned idle lands that are suitable for socialized housing and rural development projects.
The forthcoming EO will effectively reinforce Section 24 of Republic Act (RA) No. 11201, which states that lands left idle for more than 10 years and are not held by government-owned and -controlled corporations will be prioritized for housing and urban development purposes. RA 11201 is the law which created the DHSUD in 2019.
Early last month, the DHSUD continued to ink partnerships, this time with the Baguio City LGU for a township development project that would benefit some 10,000 families under the 4PH program.
This February, DHSUD also announced that it has partnered with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to develop and enhance skills of workers in the housing industry, in anticipation of a high demand for workers due to a “full-blast” implementation of 4PH this year.
Sources: Inquirer Archives, dhsud.gov.ph
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