MANILA – State-run pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has vowed to support and assist President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s priority housing program.

GSIS president and general manager Jose Arnulfo Veloso made the commitment during a meeting with key officials of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on Monday.

Veloso said the GSIS will team up with the DHSUD to address the two main challenges in the housing sector – affordability and access to funds.

“If this serves the Filipinos and if this is for the ultimate development of the country, then you can expect our 100-percent support. In fact, just like the electoral alliance of President Bongbong and Vice President Sara [Duterte], let us become a ‘UniTeam’,” Veloso said.

DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar, meanwhile, welcomed GSIS commitment to support the government's housing thrust to close the housing gap in the Philippines.

“Tutulungan natin, lalo na ang ating mga kapwa Pilipinong naghihirap, na magkaroon ng sariling tahanan na kanilang maipagmamalaki (We will help our poor countrymen in acquiring their own homes which they can be proud of)," Acuzar said.

He also emphasized the role of government financial institutions (GFIs) and other commercial organizations as fundamental pillars in the new administration’s housing program.

Acuzar previously met with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to also enjoin them in promoting the Marcos administration’s housing program designed to address the country’s 6.5 million housing backlog.

Both LBP and DBP officials have expressed support to the national housing program with a memorandum of understanding underway once its terms and conditions, among other prerequisites, have been finalized.

DHSUD Assistant Secretary for Support System Avelino Tolentino earlier said the department targets to build six million housing units in the next six years through its Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino program, with a production average rate of one million housing units per year.

Tolentino said the funds that will be allotted in the program will not be directly used in housing construction, but in housing interest support instead.

"Kapag po naglagay tayo ng housing interest support doon sa ating mga benepisyaryo, tataas po ang kanilang affordability level at magiging bankable po sila –meaning to say, iyong account po nila, pwede po nating i-takeout sa bangko at iyon po ang sikreto ng programang ito dahil po hindi na po magiging dependent sa General Appropriations Act ang pagtatayo po ng pabahay (If we put housing interest support to our beneficiaries, it will increase their affordability level and they will be bankable, meaning to say we can take it out from the bank and that is also the secret of this program because it will not be dependent to General Appropriations Act in building houses)," he said. (PNA)