Senator JV Ejercito, Chairman of the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, delivered his sponsorship speech today urging fellow senators to pass the proposed Senate version of the Balanced Housing Development Program Bill or SBN 2947, a measure which will provide more opportunities for the underprivileged and homeless Filipinos to own homes from private subdivision and condominium projects.

The said bill is in substitution of Senate Bill No. 2263 authored by Sen. Defensor-Santiago and taking into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 2065, 2617 authored by Senators Marcos and Revilla, respectively.

Ejercito said, “This measure will ensure that for every approved subdivision and condominium plan of developers, more affordable houses will surely be built for our poor citizens. If the bill is passed into law, it will toughen the provision of the UDHA and stiffen compliance among developers to allot a portion for socialized housing from each of their housing projects.”

The bill will strengthen the Balanced Housing Development Program provision of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA). Under the current law, only developers of proposed subdivision projects are required to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least twenty percent (20%) of the total subdivision area or total subdivision project cost, at the option of the developer, within the same city or municipality, whenever feasible.

The proposed bill will expand the coverage to include “residential condominium units”. Developers will be required to allot an area for socialized housing,  equivalent to 15% of the total subdivision area or total subdivision cost for subdivision developers, and 5% of the condominium area or project cost for condominium developers. A fine of not less than five hundred thousand pesos (P 500,000.00) but not more than ten million pesos (P 10,000,000.00) for the first offense and cancellation of license to do business for the second offense shall be imposed for its violation.

The Senator thanked the support of subdivision and condominium developers on the bill and said, “The inclusion of condominium unit developers to allocate at least 5% of their total project area or project cost for socialized housing will help surge the number of houses to be built for the poor. In this way, it will in turn help cut the massive shortage that the housing sector is facing.”

In his speech, Ejercito also expressed alarm for the growing population of Filipinos who are in need of permanent shelters. He said, “Lubos na nakakabahala ang 5.5 million na backlog ng pabahay sa bansa.  Lumulobo ang dami ng informal settlers. Ang panukalang batas na ito ay isang hakbang para sa pagpapatibay ng ugnayan at pagtutulungan ng pamahalaan at pribadong sektor para bigyang solusyon ang problema sa pabahay.”

He also cited data from the UN Commission on Human Rights and Homeless International that around 22.8M of the Philippine’s population live in slum areas, 1.2 million of which are children.  He said the housing backlog could rise to 12.5M by year 2030.

Senator Ejercito vowed to look into more public-private partnership measures that will help alleviate the country’s demand for socialized housing in the days to come. ###