Several members of the House of Representatives have commended the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) for “innovative solutions” in finally ending the country’s housing gap.

During a recent budget hearing by the House Appropriations Committee, led by Rep. Elizaldy Co, the lawmakers particularly recognized DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar for his out-of-the-box approach in confronting the challenges in the housing sector. 

At the same time, the lawmakers expressed support to DHSUD’s efforts to build one million housing units per year in the next six years as directed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We really need the help of Congress to accomplish the mission given to us by our President – address the housing gap by building six million units in six years,” Secretary Acuzar said.

DHSUD computed the country’s current housing backlog at 6.5 million units.

“We are introducing innovative solutions to the housing problem,” vowed Secretary Acuzar.

During the budget hearing, Secretary Acuzar, along with key DHSUD officials, presented to the lawmakers the priority housing program approved by President Marcos.

In response, Committee on Appropriations Senior Vice Chairperson Stella Luz Quimbo commended the program saying, “maganda ‘yung idea, I’m happy that you’re thinking out of the box, congratulations. We need that, finally.”

Secretary Acuzar took the hearing as an opportunity to ask the House of Representatives for P36 billion to fund the interest subsidy for the first one million units. He cited the importance of jumpstarting the program with the necessary budget allocation.

The DHSUD chief said that the funding will help address the two main problems in the housing sector – affordability and access to fund.

After the budget hearing attended by dozens of lawmakers, Secretary Acuzar also met with Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe and Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander Marcos.

The House Appropriations Committee tackled the P3.951 billion allocation of DHSUD under the 2023 General Appropriations Act. — MJM