QUEZON CITY – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario believes that the country’s housing concerns can be addressed better through synchronized efforts among government agencies.

At the National Human Settlements Board’s (NHSB) inaugural meeting on Thursday, Secretary Del Rosario urged the support of member-agencies in addressing concerns related to the housing sector.

The housing czar likewise highlighted the need for the synchronization of planning and implementation of programs and projects of national government agencies and local government units, as well as the private sector, to pave the way for the development of towns and cities across the country.

“We implore your support in harmonizing our efforts to ensure efficient and sustainable urban development,” the housing czar said in his message at the key forum.

The NHSB, formed in line with DHSUD’s mandate under Republic Act 11201 in ensuring the alignment of policies, programs and projects of its attached agencies, acts as the single policy-making body that provides overall policy direction and program meant to attain the department’s goal of providing more resilient, sustainable and affordable housing communities to Filipinos, especially the underprivileged.

Aside from DHSUD’s key shelter agencies, the NHSB also has the Departments of Finance, the Interior and Local Government, Budget and Management, Public Works and Highways and the National Economic Development Authority as members.

“I know that we will encounter a lot of challenges along the way, but I am optimistic that with your help, we will be able to provide better service to our people,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed. “There is so much work to be done: the realization of every Filipino’s dream of living a decent, safe, resilient and well-planned communities rests on our shoulders,” he noted.

Secretary Del Rosario also rallied the support of the NHSB member-agencies in promoting further collaboration in terms of achieving their goals under Ambisyon Natin 2040.

For 2021, the board will turn its focus on the approval of the 20-year housing roadmap, a review of the price ceiling for socialized subdivision and socialized condominium projects as well as the loan ceiling for economic, low and medium-cost housing and ironing the details of the Balai Rental Housing Program.

Another housing thrust for next year would be a possible introduction of housing microfinance and the setting of a minimum standard space per person requirement to all future housing projects to effectively achieve physical distancing including the number of rooms per housing unit that would allow for possible areas for quarantine to avoid crowding in response to the “new normal” requirements brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The housing czar earlier called for a more concerted effort in managing housing and urban development in the country, especially as the country grapples with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The contagion, according to Secretary Del Rosario, had exposed the vulnerability of towns and cities, hence the need for synchronization of efforts in aligning policies and programs related to the housing sector.

The NHSB will reconvene on January 28 next year and shall meet every quarter.