QUEZON CITY – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario led the launching of DHSUD’s first Planners’ Forum aimed at further empowering the government agency’s planning function.

Highlighting a six-part Webinar Series with the theme “Embracing the New Normal In Land Use and Urban Planning Development,” the forum likewise seeks to broaden DHSUD Regional Offices’ role in implementing the BALAI (Building Adequate, Livable, Affordable and Inclusive) Filipino communities program.

The initiative is being held in conjunction with the National Shelter Month this October. “Given the strengthened and wider development planning function of our department, we, that is you and I, are faced with an enormous challenge to implement our BALAI Filipino program,” Secretary Del Rosario said in welcoming participants at the forum.

“It is our task to build human settlements that are adequate in terms of delivery and access to services; with livable settlements that are safe, risk resilient and environmentally sound, yet, affordable because home buyers are given choices of financial modalities to access their preferred housing unit,” the housing czar stressed.

He also noted that the forum is meant to promote further the development of inclusive settlements supported by primary needs such as transport systems, water sanitation and education.

Secretary Del Rosario expressed hope that the forum will pave the way for measures meant to raise the awareness of both the government and the public with regard to pushing for the overall progress of the country’s human settlements and urban development, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope that the core of your discussions on the pandemic, COVID-19, will guide you (participants) to assist and lead our local government units, to do the right thing – actions that local leaders should undertake today for a better future in Human Settlements and Urban Development,” Secretary Del Rosario added.

The first of the Webinar Series kicked off on Wednesday. Similar forums will be held on October 14, 21 and 28, as well as on November 4 and 11. As the lead government agency in the housing sector, DHSUD is spearheading celebrations for the National Shelter Month in line with its mandate in providing more sustainable, resilient and affordable housing units to Filipinos, especially the underprivileged.  (30)