After a series of discussions on human settlements and urban development frameworks and housing concerns, let me now share with you our government’s National Shelter Program (NSP).

The NSP is our flagship program designed to assist the homeless—in particular, the informal settler families (ISFs)—and the low- and middle-income Filipino families. It has three major components, namely, regulations, finance and production.

As the primary agency mandated for the management of housing and the sole planning and policy-making body for human settlements and urban development in our country, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is so structured to meet the desired output of the NSP.

The DHSUD, through its various bureaus and services, provides regulatory functions while our key shelter agencies (KSAs)—composed of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC) and Socialized Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC)—are in-charge of the financing side. The National Housing Authority (NHA) serves as the primary production unit.

As the regulatory arm, DHSUD conducts comprehensive, data-driven and evidence-based studies and research, including practical approaches and strategies to craft housing and urban development policies, plans and programs in pursuit of the NSP. We work closely with the private sector to ensure coordinated and synchronized public-private efforts in the housing industry and a whole-of-nation approach in addressing the gap.

As a personal advocacy, we closely engage other government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and housing partner-developers to align our policies and programs with them and develop synergies in the process. In fact, we have forged partnerships with these groups and other stakeholders in order to come up with more comprehensive, more effective regulations and policies that will serve as a solid foundation of the housing industry.

On the other hand, our KSAs, as the finance and production arms, have been pro-actively adapting to the challenges in close collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders in order to assist our member-beneficiaries, especially during the pandemic. This was proven by the three-month moratorium implemented by the KSAs upon President Duterte’s declaration of the enhanced community quarantine last March 2020.

Apart from finding ways to ease the burden of its members through the moratorium and adjustment in loan rates, Pag-IBIG also increased its House Construction Financing Line to P10 billion from only P2 billion, to serve as a housing stimulus package. This would assist our partner-developers, especially small and medium developers, by sustaining their financial needs for housing construction amid the pandemic. The SHFC, NHMFC and NHA meanwhile remain focused on improving their services through innovative programs designed to provide easier access to housing.

All these innovations and collaborations are meant to ensure that our programs, guidelines, rules and regulations are aligned with the policies, frameworks and strategies set by the department in pursuit of the NSP.

After all, we consider house ownership as a right and it is our responsibility to assist and support the 81 percent of Filipino families who dream to have a house they can call their own.

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