De Lima seeks bigger funds to address housing problems

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has opposed the huge decline in the proposed 2018 P3.767-trilllion national budget for the housing sector, notably on the National Housing Authority (NHA), which can negatively impact the living conditions of the poor.

In her Second Manifestation / Additional Comments on the 2018 Budget which was entered into the Senate records last Dec. 12, De Lima said the Duterte administration has overlooked the problems besetting the informal settlers and relocated communities.

“The housing sector leaves much to be desired. The housing program should have been in the forefront of the government’s anti-poverty program as it provides the opportunity to build communities and lives around the relocation sites,” she said.

The NHA received a budget allocation of P2.2 billion for 2018, which is P10 billion lower than its 2017 allocation of P12.68 billion.

De Lima pointed out that the Duterte administration has failed to recognize the need to finance a key agency that would ensure that all the requirements of the housing projects are complied with by several agencies involved.

She lamented that the local government units and the NHA, which are expected to work together to provide basic services and facilities and access to livelihood opportunities for the informal settlers, operate almost independently of each other.

“The families end up living in substandard conditions with little to no access to basic services, schools, and livelihood opportunities,” she said.

To address the problems besetting the relocated communities, De Lima said there should be adequate funding that will ensure that families who have already been resettled would not again be rendered homeless through eviction.

“At the very least, the government should invest funds in ensuring that they don’t revert back to being homeless, since they have already been awarded units and it is economic realities outside their control that make it difficult for them to pay off their debts, and in improving their living conditions,” she said.

“What good will evicting these families do? For the families themselves? For the government? For the economy? On the flipside, what evil would happen if they are to be pushed out of their homes? Obviously, they will again be counted as the homeless that we need to find shelter for,” she added.

The Senator from Bicol maintained that by failing to put funds where it is most needed will only worsen the problem involving the poor sector of the society.

Last Dec. 12, Congress has ratified the proposed P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018. President Duterte is set to sign the budget into law on December 19. (30)

For the full text of Senator De Lima’s Second Manifestation / Additional Comments on the 2018 Budget, see links below:

Part I: http://bit.ly/2Cz8YvE
Part II: http://bit.ly/2BJSTo5
Part III: http://bit.ly/2z1ClVm

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