A lawmaker on Tuesday pushed for a measure that would help delinquent beneficiaries of the government’s housing program keep their houses without having to worry about being evicted.
In a statement, City of San Jose Del Monte Rep. Florida Robes noted that there is a low occupancy rate in the government housing program mainly due to the failure of the beneficiaries to pay the monthly amortization and/or association dues, prompting them to sell their rights or lease out their units.
Robes also cited reports that some beneficiaries have used their units as collateral for unregulated private and personal loans by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which grants the creditor unilateral right to seize the units in their favor.
“In effect, it defeats the very purpose of the government housing programs and NHA (National Housing Authority) initiatives to provide decent and affordable housing for the underprivileged and marginalized Filipino citizens,” Robes said.
Under House Bill No. 1925 or the proposed NHA Amnesty and Acquisition Act of 2023, Robes said the NHA shall be authorized to grant amnesty or condone the unpaid amortization or lease payments to ease the burden of the beneficiaries.
If enacted into law, the NHA shall also have the authority to acquire the units from the original awardees in order to be allocated and awarded to qualified beneficiaries through the Build Better and More (BBM) and the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing Program.
The bill mandates the State to adopt a viable land acquisition and management approach; strengthen housing as a platform to reduce poverty, promote climate resilience, improve social outcome; and intensify and widen its authority and functions to effectively fulfill their mandate.
The bill covers all NHA projects such as house and lot, medium-rise buildings, and condominiums including the improvement and rights that are delinquent accounts; illegally/unlawfully transferred, sold, leased, sublet encumbered and mortgaged illegally by the original awardees or otherwise disposed of his/her lot and/ or units; abandoned; unoccupied; and canceled and surrendered due to violation of the NHA occupancy rules and regulations.
The NHA shall be mandated to come up with uniform guidelines to govern the amnesty/condonation; or cancellation, acquisition, and awarding of units to qualified beneficiaries.
An inventory and verification of all NHA housing/units prior to the implementation of the proposed Amnesty Program shall be necessary, she noted. (PNA)