Press Release
October 10, 2017

Drilon seeks to restore housing sector budget

Senate Minority Leader Franklin has proposed to use the "excess fats" in the proposed P3.77 trillion 2018 national budget to address the 1.2 million housing backlog in the country, as he lamented the huge cut in the housing sector's 2018 budget.

During the interpellation of the budget of the housing sector on Tuesday, Drilon called the proposed P4.4 billion in 2018, which is 70 percent lower than its P15.3 billion budget in 2017, an "injustice" to the housing sector.

Drilon emphasized that budgetary support is crucial in addressing "the poorest sector of our society" and the huge budget cut is the "wrong policy thrust."

"This is criminal neglect if we look at the budget of the housing sector," Drilon warned.

Senator JV Ejercito, who sponsored the budget of the National Housing Authority, cited the agency's alleged low absorptive capacity as a reason for the decrease, as proposed by the Department of Budget and Management in the 2018 national budget.

However, Drilon disagreed with the justification: "The absorptive capacity of the NHA is being blamed for this refusal by the economic managers to provide sufficient budget for the housing sector. We should not let our people suffer from these alleged inefficiencies of a bureaucracy, which is even open to question."

Ejercito then placed on record that NHA has obligated 85% of its funds in 2016, contrary to claims that the agency has low absorptive capacity.

Drilon said that that "social problems will just continue to worsen if we continue to commit criminal neglect in our treatment of the housing sector."

The housing backlog is expected to reach six million by 2022, according to Ejercito.

"With that kind of backlog, why are we not providing enough resources to our housing sector?" asked Drilon.

The minority leader then asked the committee as well as the chamber to restore the proposed budget of the housing sector for next year to its current level.

He said funds could be sourced from the "excess fats" and unproductive items in the proposed 2018 budget, citing, for instance, the budget for intelligence funds, which, he added, amounts to P3.7 billion, has grown tremendously in this administration.

The minority leader likewise emphasized the importance of housing as an economic tool, which has the highest multiplier effect on the economy.

"Sa bawat piso na gagastusin sa pabahay, pitong piso ang balik nito sa ekonomiya," Drilon said.

"From the social point of view, housing is very important. From the economic point of view, it is very beneficial," he concluded.

In July 2016, Drilon filed SBN 232 that seeks to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development, envisioned to be a "one stop shop for the homeless."

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