(PNA file photo)

MANILA – Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar vowed on Thursday to address the present housing backlog of more than six million units that would also benefit informal settler families (ISFs) and those living along danger zones.

Acuzar said the provision of decent and safe human settlements or townships to underprivileged Filipinos in the country is among the priorities of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“We crafted plans based on our assessment of the sector. As we can see now, there are two main bottlenecks that we must address to conquer the housing backlog in the country - first is access to funding, and second, affordability. That is the direction of our strategies.” he said.

The DHSUD said the housing backlog is currently pegged at more than 6.5 million units.

During a meeting with the Senate Committee on Urban Development, Housing, and Resettlement on Wednesday, DHSUD Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino III said the agency intends to focus on the development of 10 priority areas, urban renewal project sites in major cities, and ISF sites along estuaries and waterfronts in major urban areas nationwide, in cooperation with local governments and the private sector.

Tolentino said the DHSUD, through its initial site inspections, has already identified potential areas for the development of sustainable settlements and townships.

The agency is also looking at blighted areas, waterways, and high-risk coastal communities currently occupied by ISFs for urban re-development for compact, mixed-use, and efficient urban districts.

Acuzar said the DHSUD is involving as many players who are capable to help produce and finance quality houses for Filipinos.

"This is where our partner-developers will come in. We seek the support of our legislative branch to attract the participation of the private sector in government housing programs,” Acuzar said.

The DHSUD chief also appealed to the 19th Congress to push for the agency's budget proposal which contains the inclusion of the PHP36-billion housing interest subsidy every year which will serve as a catalyst for housing production. (PNA)