QUEZON CITY — Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario on Monday assured that the housing sector’s road to recovery from the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has started immediately after the resumption of all real estate activities as allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF).

Secretary Del Rosario said that the resumption of real estate activities since June 1 has already resulted in positive developments — including the return of workers to project sites that follow strict compliance to safety and health protocols set by DHSUD and the national government.

To ensure that the DHSUD’s efforts are aligned with the private sector’s programs, the housing czar vowed continuous engagement with all the stakeholders, particularly the developers.

“I would like to assure all the stakeholders in the housing sector and the Filipino people that the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development will do everything possible to reinvigorate the industry,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

“We will continue to focus on stakeholders’ engagement as a key strategy to confront the challenges of COVID-19 and rise again. We are here to serve — not restrict them,” he added.

The DHSUD chief cited the reports, which have been forwarded by the department’s Regional Offices (ROs), that showed the more than 200 developers who have resumed or will resume construction of more than 700 projects all over the country after the IATF allowed the resumption of private infrastructure projects, which included housing.

The projects will produce more than 300,000 subdivision and condominium units and employ around 50,000 workers, most of whom are construction laborers.

“The resumption of real estate activities will trigger the much-needed construction supply chain involving more than 80 related businesses like cement, steel, tiles and others,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed.

“This clearly indicates that the housing industry is critical in pump-priming the economy amid these challenging times,” he added.

Apart from the workers returning to work, thus providing livelihood to their families, the DHSUD, through the Home Development Mutual Fund or the PagIBIG Fund, is offering a P10 billion House Construction Financing Line (HCFL) to partner-developers, so they can continue producing housing units.

“If we have housing construction nationwide, it will trigger the supply chain. Imagine the employment that it will generate of about two to three million workers, including brokers and sales agents,” he pointed out.

The IATF has allowed the resumption of construction works in public and private infrastructure projects last May 17 after the downgrading of the enhanced community quarantine to a modified ECQ.

Real estate activities had stopped on March 17 when President Rodrigo Duterte declared ECQ due to the threat posed by COVID-19.   (30)