By Darryl John Esguerra

HOUSING FOR ALL. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. convenes a sectoral meeting on the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino (4PH) Program at Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (June 18, 2024). The 4PH is the administration’s flagship housing program aimed at addressing the country’s 6.5 million housing backlog by building 1 million housing units annually until 2028. (Presidential Photojournalists Association)

MANILA – The government’s Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino (4PH) Program will create a “terrific” impact on the national economy, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday as he directed concerned agencies to sustain efforts in addressing the country’s housing gap.

In a sectoral meeting in Malacañang with officials of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Marcos said he expects the ambitious housing program to affect the economy positively.

During the meeting, the DHSUD reported the latest updates on the government housing program while the NEDA presented an assessment of the subject matter, including issues and recommendations.

“Even the effect on the economy is going to be terrific ‘pag nagawa natin ito (if we are able to pull this off). Magandang effect talaga sa ekonomiya (It will really have a positive impact on the economy). And that is why it is necessary. We have to do this. We have to find a way to do this. We have to be a little creative. Hindi ito standard na ginagawa (This is not usually done),” Marcos was quoted as saying in a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) news release.

Launched in September 2022, the 4PH Program aims to address the country’s 6.5 million housing backlog by building 1 million housing units annually until 2028.

The DHSUD, according to PCO, made several requests on the 4PH Program, such as the issuance of a funding guarantee, which would increase the confidence of government financial institutions in supporting the program and attract the participation of private banks and institutions.

It also asked the President to certify the 4PH Bill as urgent and name it as a priority legislation during the State of the Nation Address in July, as well as ensure a budget allocation for communal facilities, such as basketball courts and parks.

On the request for a sovereign guarantee, the Chief Executive called for a comprehensive risk assessment of its possible effects on the program.

“Let’s generate those numbers and see what really in terms of real-world cost is going to be – what is the condition really of the market, how easy or how hard is it going to be to turn – for our guarantee to turn these things around. For the interest subsidy,” he said.

“Sige as soon as you can para ma-desisyunan na natin ‘to (Come up with it as soon as you can so we can decide). But we’re going to – everybody has to work together on this so that you can agree on the numbers. So, we have working numbers that we have confidence in. Hindi ‘yung (Not just) arbitrary (numbers) that we just grab out of the air. It has to be based on the historical experience in the housing industry.” (PNA)