A GROUP of real estate and housing stakeholders pushed for the building of affordable housing sites within transit-oriented developments (TODs) that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is either currently constructing, designing, or planning.
This was recently petitioned by the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations Inc. (Creba) to government’s transport and human settlements departments.
With the government providing the land, Creba National Chairman Charlie A. V. Gorayeb said that private housing developers can take care of constructing the residential units in these locations within or near mass transportation hubs.
This partnership, he added, can significantly increase the supply of decent housing and help improve the quality of life of a large number of still homeless Filipinos nationwide.
Approximately, the Philippines needs almost 7 million affordable housing units at present. This figure is expected to grow up to 20 million by 2040 if left unresolved by the government.
Of the 1.9 million informal settler families today, 478,899 of them live within Metro Manila, occupying many of our waterways and danger zones identified by the Department of Public Works and Highways as priority for clearing and improvement to avoid future widespread flooding in the metropolis.
Previous administrations have attempted but failed to address the massive housing need and relocate the informal settler families to disaster-free areas.
Gorayeb attributed this to the lack of available land in places where jobs and livelihood opportunities are concentrated.
The DOTr’s various transport projects, however, have opened up big opportunities to address the requirement for affordable housing with easy access to jobs and livelihood centers via improved mass transit systems.
Creba National President Noel Toti M. Cariño cited the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) that the agency has started to construct to connect the Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Calamba in Laguna presents a promising solution through a TOD.
He said that under this concept, including sites for affordable housing near the stations upon land acquisition for the station buildings and its support facilities will provide private housing developers with sites to build the required housing units mandated of them by Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act, as amended by Republic Act 10884 in 2016, thus contributing to the reduction of the housing backlog,
as well as to the resettlement of the families still living in danger zones.
Both the Creba officials envision that if only 10 percent of the 500-meter radius TOD areas of the six stations under Phase 1 of the NSCR were allocated for affordable housing, this can produce at least 37,000 housing units that can accommodate some 185,000 people.
This may be small compared with the housing backlog, but it can catalyze a continuous initiative to meet the increasing housing need all over the country.
Creba has tapped the support of the DOTr and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) in recognition of the important roles that the two agencies play in national development, and the enormous potential contribution that they can both make in addressing the escalating problem of slums and homelessness.
It said that the mandates of these departments have direct impacts on the two crucial elements of affordable housing: land allocation and housing production. Through the TOD approach, DOTr can provide the land necessary for the construction of the housing units, while DHSUD can facilitate the efficient delivery of the housing units in partnership with private housing developers.
The group is confident that this type of program, coupled with a creative long-term, low-interest and self-liquidating home financing scheme, which it has been pushing for Congressional approval, the government and the private developers sector can establish a solid foundation for effectively meeting the housing needs of Filipinos now and in the future.