HOUSING SUMMIT. Undersecretary Jose Ramon Aliling of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development speaks during the opening program of the Cordillera regional housing summit 2022 in Baguio City on Tuesday (Oct. 18, 2022). The summit is being attended by the stakeholders from the provinces of the Cordillera. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The issue of housing backlog in this city can be addressed with the upcoming implementation of the law creating the Metropolitan Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay Development Authority (MBLISTTDA).

“Zoning in Baguio has a future despite difficulty due to limited land area and providing for safe housing areas. But this can be addressed with (Metropolitan Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay Development Authority)," Maria Amoroso, director of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), said on the sidelines of the opening of the four-day Regional Housing Summit which runs from Tuesday to Friday.

She said the current goal is to bring subdivisions and development in the five adjacent municipalities in Benguet which will also bring other infrastructure and services to support the people relocating outside the urban area of the city.

“Baguio will decongest in terms of development with housing settlements not anymore in Baguio but would to the BLISTTDA, same as infrastructure for tourism," Amoroso added.

Based on the housing planning information which is now undergoing validation, Amoroso said the city has a backlog of 130,000 housing units.

The MBLISTTDA was created under Republic Act 11932, which lapsed into law on July 30.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Cordillera said the MBLISTT Council convened on Oct. 12 to review and approve the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law.

A survey conducted in 2020 showed that the city has a population of more than 300,000, much higher than the ideal 25,000 population based on the plan of American architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham when he designed the city.

Amoroso said that the overpopulation can be remedied with the diffusion of housing settlements and developments at the BLISTT which will be provided for in the MBLISTTDA concept.

Rep. Mark Go, author of the MBLISTTDA law, in a message during the summit, said the implementing rules and regulations have just been completed for implementation.

Amoroso also said the DHSUD is addressing not just the backlog of housing units but also to address other adjacent issues like inefficient alternative housing provisions, high monthly amortization of housing units, and the design of housing units that do not give privacy to parents and children.

“The concept of building decent housing under the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino program of President Ferdinand Mardos Jr.'s aim to build at least 1 million units per year to address the country’s backlog,” she said.

She added that in the Cordillera, the goal is 10,000 units until 2023.

She called on stakeholders to help identify safe areas for housing and partner with the government for the development of more housing settlement areas and units not just in Baguio but in other parts of the region.

The first city government-initiated socialized housing units are currently being developed in Irisan Barangay. The Luna Terraces once completed will provide an initial 65 units for the marginalized sector.

DHSUD Undersecretary Jose Ramon Aliling, in a message, also said that housing is not merely providing shelter but the government endeavors to provide safe, affordable and livable homes.

“We want to ensure the families will have a decent and affordable roof to live in and a sustainable community to belong anchored on the President’s housing thrusts for Filipinos. (PNA)