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Angara: Gov’t must step up efforts to avert housing crisis

Sonny Angara

Sen. Sonny Angara (INQUIRER.net file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Sen. Sonny Angara said the country’s housing backlog could balloon up to 12 million by 2030 if left unaddressed, and the homeless population could reach crisis proportions unless the government steps up efforts to provide them with permanent shelter.

“Out of a population of roughly 106 to 108 million Filipinos, some 4.5 million don’t have any shelter and up to two-thirds of that number — three million — are here in Metro Manila,” Angara said during a recent event organized by the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) in Makati City.

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Angara cited a 2016 study by the University of Asia and the Pacific that determined that the government housing backlog could reach 12 million in the next decade, including the backlog of over six million units from 2001 to 2015.

Ironically, Angara said these alarming figures came out in the midst of a booming real estate industry, which from 2014 and 2018 contributed up to 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and taken up more than 18 percent of total bank loans.

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He noted that while the market had a surplus of up to 561,000 units in mid- and high-cost housing in 2015, the gap for socialized, economic, low and even free housing was more than 11 times than that number, which is around 6.67 million units.

“In short, our real estate industry may be booming, but we’re doing poorly when it comes to sheltering our people and providing them with homes,” lamented the lawmaker from Aurora, who is running under the platform “Alagang Angara.”

Housing, he said, plays a central, crucial role in the lives of poor Filipinos, as he noted that poverty eradication was unlikely to be met without addressing basic housing needs.

“Such housing crisis is just one piece of the greater puzzle that plagues our country — that of chronic poverty,” Angara said. “And although it is but one aspect of the problem, it is nevertheless critical. Because without a home, one cannot plant their roots.” /atm

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