BAGUIO CITY – The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association – Baguio-Benguet Chapter (CREBA-BBC) here disclosed there are over 35,000 housing units for middle income and socialized housing beneficiaries remain as the government’s backlog in Baguio and Benguet over the past several years.
Enr. Mario Alzona, Jr., newly-elected CREBA-BBC president, said the growing backlog of housing units in the Baguio and Benguet areas is triggered by the influx of people wanting to own houses as they consider the city and nearby towns of Benguet as their second home.
“”The future prospects of the housing sector in Baguio and Benguet still remains bright for the developers considering the enormous demand from people in the lowlands for them to own houses in the city. We have the demand but there are no longer lands that could be given to them,” Alzona stressed.
The CREBA-BBC official underscored housing developers are now diversifying their plans outside the city, specifically in the La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay towns, because of the availability of lands which could still be developed to reduce the growing backlog of housing units for middle income and socialized housing beneficiaries.
Engr. Alzona pointed out one of the available strategies that could be put in place is the establishment of a solid partnership between concerned government agencies, local governments and the private sector in order to open potential housing sites that could be developed in order to significantly reduce the increasing housing backlog in the city and Benguet.
Alzona explained local governments must fund the opening of access roads to the proposed housing sites and potential housing developers will be encouraged to infuse their capital in order to put up the appropriate housing units intended for the growing number of beneficiaries.
In return, Alzona explained local governments will be able to get back their investments in the opening of the access roads through the expected payment of real property and business taxes once housing units are established in the areas.
Furthermore, he claimed the building of houses will help in the generation of employment opportunities for qualified local residents, increase in economic activities for the people and the provision of added sources of livelihood.
In order to address the problem of socialized housing which is the role mandated to local governments by Republic Act (RA) 7279 or the Urban Housing Development Act (UDHA), Alzona called on local chief executives to implement the provisions of the law that provides that one percent of real property taxes being collected in their respective areas of jurisdiction must be used for socialized housing projects of the local government.
“This provision has never been implemented and it is high time for local governments to provide descent shelter to their constituents by using such available funds for socialized housing projects in their areas of jurisdiction,” Alzona said.
He assured CREBA-BBC will always be the partner of local governments in the BLISTT area in terms of uplifting the state of housing that will provide middle income and socialized housing beneficiaries with descent and affordable housing units.
Alzona admitted one of the major problems being encountered by housing developers in the Baguio and Benguet areas is the prohibitive cost of raw land and the cost of development considering the need to put in place appropriate engineering measures that will help in ensuring the stability of the houses in the mountainous terrain.
“Buidling houses in mountainous areas like Baguio and Benguet is totally different from building houses in the lowlands, however, developers are trying their best to make sure that the cost of houses they are offering to their clients are affordable and safe for human occupancy,” Alzona said.
By Dexter A. See