Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong, Philippines (https://commons.wikimedia.org/)

QUEZON CITY – The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is looking at notching a partnership agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its move to develop innovative programs and projects to address challenges in the housing and urban development sector.

The possible tie-up was raised by DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario during a recent virtual meeting with officials of the ADB, led by Southeast Asia Department-Urban Development and Water Division Director Vijay Padmanabhan, wherein he also shared the challenges that the department is facing, especially on the effects of the COVID-19.

“The DHSUD is looking at formulating and implementing various innovative programs and projects to address housing and urban sector challenges,” Secretary Del Rosario said in underscoring the effort of the department in putting forward innovative thrusts and in meeting them to keep the housing sector vibrant.

“We want to build on the gains and lessons learned from the Development of Poor Urban Communities Sector Project (DPUCSP),” he added, referring to the ADB-funded project that was carried out from 2004 to 2010, whose main objective was to reduce income poverty and improve the quality of lives of urban poor around the country.

The housing czar said that DHSUD is already in the middle of finalizing a 20-year National Housing Strategic Roadmap that will serve as a blueprint of the country’s housing sector to achieve resiliency and sustainability.

During the meeting, Secretary Del Rosario told ADB officials that among the challenges that the housing and real estate sector currently face are the rapid urbanization and its effects, urban governance conundrum, poverty in urban areas and the risks and vulnerability to climate change.

Imparting on the measures taken by the DHSUD in order to soften the impact of the COVID-19 on the housing sector, he said that the department has imposed moratoriums on loan payments and has issued guidelines that allowed the resumption of real estate business for the benefit of the public, especially the urban poor.

He also said that DHSUD has partnered with the ADB in conducting a study for a roadmap that is aimed at the “green-inclusive” housing microfinance in the country.

While DHUSD wants to fully promote green housing with the support of the ADB, Secretary Del Rosario said a holistic solution should also be adopted that would address various concerns.

“We also need to address the housing and urban development investment requirements of local government units, private sector groups and non-governmental organizations, including their climate mitigation and adaptation needs,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

He said the DHSUD also needs to boost its capacity development with regard to planning, implementation and management of innovative and pioneering programs and projects related to the housing sector.

Secretary Del Rosario said the department is pushing for “best practices,” including pushing for a public-private partnership in housing and urban development, promotion of “green and climate-smart” city development and achieving affordable, low-carbon resilient housing, among others. -30-