DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Building livable and comfortable homes for the country’s homeless.
This is how Marcelino P. Escalada Jr., the general manager of National Housing Authority (NHA) describes the mission of his agency.
The National Housing Authority was tasked to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated housing program which shall embrace, among others, housing development and resettlement, sources and schemes of financing, and delineation of government and private sector participation as mandate under Presidential Decree 757 dated July 31, 1975.
Escalada, who used to sit as the chief of the Davao City Planning and Development, prior to his appointment as NHA general manager said with the thousands of housing backlogs now “the order of priority must be based in the urgency but those pending completion is also given equal attention.”
But how can NHA set the order of priority given the massive displacement due to natural and man-made conflict?
“We work on the basis of who needs most and how we can we the implementation,” he added.
As it is now, there is a reported 6.5 million projected total housing backlog for both the formal and informal settlers but NHA accounts only to 1.5 million of the figure.
For the current fiscal year, there is an estimated housing backlog of 760,400; 774,441 in 2018; 788,773 in 2019; 803,405 in 2020; 818,363 in 2021; and 833,619 in 2022.
“We intervene by orders of priority,” he explained. “There is over a million of housing backlogs that we need to undertake,” he added.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office the order is “build! build! build!” but the NHA has to make sure every project suits the standard to avoid complications and complaints by the prospective beneficiaries.
“We are closely monitoring all NHA projects nationwide and make sure the work is done as prescribed,” he added.
The housing project in Zamboanga is implemented under the auspices of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) program which costs P137.72 million.
The project was left unfinished by the past administration but Escadala said “the President has instructed the NHA to finish all housing programs regardless of who implemented and who left it undone.”
National leaders, local stakeholders, and residents are helping each other to build back a better city and make it the gateway for trade and commerce in the region.
The 20-day Zamboanga siege in 2013 rendered 233 families homeless, residents are under transitory sites either stayed with relatives or rented a house.
The Z3R in Zamboanga is among the backlogs that the NHA has to accomplish.
Documents showed, in 2014, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle “Beng” Climaco signed the NHA’s housing plans and designs it was programmed for completion in March 2016 but unfortunately, it was not done as scheduled.
“We will not turn over any NHA project without the much needed facilities like water and power, hygiene and sanitation is very important because these facilities are vital in their occupation,” Escalada pointed out.
“Proving shelter is one of the thrust of the President and his order is to equip every unit with the facilities for the comfort of the owners,” he added.
Escalada said “We consider every unfinished and incomplete housing project as an unfinished task, a work left undone, a work that we must complete and deliver the same to it’s qualified occupant. The President ordered us to finish all projects left undone.”
As Escalada puts it, his agency wants “Every government housing unit a livable and comfortable home for every occupant.”<i>(Sponsored Content)</i>