HOUSING PROJECT. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and National Housing Authority (NHA) general manager Joeben Tai inspect houses turned over by the NHA to 30,000 Filipino families in Naic, Cavite on Monday (Dec. 5, 2022). He said putting up more high-rise houses may help address the country’s housing backlog of more than 6.5 million. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday said that putting up more high-rise houses may help address the country’s housing backlog of more than 6.5 million.

He cited how the Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS) project of his parents, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, attempted to provide the urban poor with their own houses and lots.

However, he said these were mid-rise houses and may no longer be feasible today due to what he described as a “land shortage” in urban areas.

“Kung maaalala ninyo 'yung project na BLISS, diyan nag-umpisa ang mid-rise na ilang five story, six story na building…Ngunit ngayon dahil mahirap na, baka siguro pataasin natin. Baka puwede na natin hanggang high-rise na. Ngunit pinag-aaralan natin ‘to. Siguro case to case ito (If you remember the BLISS project, that’s where mid-rise or five to six-story buildings started…But now since it’s difficult, maybe we can build them taller. Maybe we can make high-rise buildings. But we are still studying this since it will be a case-to-case basis),” he said in a speech during the turnover of new houses and lots to 30,000 Filipino families in Naic, Cavite.

The BLISS project, which started in 1981, was under the stewardship of Marcos’ mother, who was also the concurrent Minister of Human Settlement then.

Marcos underscored the important role of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development in helping the National Housing Authority (NHA) ensure that houses being built for the poor are in close proximity to their livelihood.

“Kung minsan ganun ang pakiramdam, parang isang oras ka bago makauwi lalo na sa Maynila. Pero ang aming tinitingnan the travel time mula sa bahay hangga’t sa trabaho ay hindi dapat lalampas sa isang oras (Sometimes it feels like that, it’s as if it takes an entire year before you get home, especially in Manila. But what we want to ensure is that travel time from their homes to work will not take over an hour),” he said.

He likewise said their homes should also be in close proximity to their children’s schools and near marketplaces.

New homes

Meanwhile, Marcos called on all housing beneficiaries to take good care of their new homes and ensure that they contribute to their progress.

“Sa ating mga beneficiary, sa inyong pagsisimula ng bagong buhay sa inyong mga bagong bahay hangad ko na una mapaganda ninyo ang inyong mga tahanan, ito ay pakamahalin ninyo ng lubusan dahil ito ang magiging sakski ng paguunlad ninyo at ang inyong pamilya (To our beneficiaries, as you start a new life in your new homes, I wish that you first beautify your homes and love it completely because it will be the witness to your and your family's progress),” he said.

He thanked the NHA and concerned agencies and local government units for their commitment to ensuring a successful turnover of houses and lots to all beneficiaries.

He enjoined NHA officials to continue working to ensure that all Filipinos will have a home that is in close proximity to their livelihood.

He stressed anew the need for the NHA and concerned agencies to ensure that these homes are resilient to risks of natural calamities.

“Batid natin ang iba’t ibang uri ng sakuna at problemang dumadaan sa ating bayan kaya naman napakahalaga na masiguro natin na ang mga bahay na ating itinatayo at ipinapamahagi ay mananatiling matibay at tatagal anuman ang maging lagay ng panahon (We are aware of the various types of disasters and problems that pass through our country, which is why it is very important that we ensure that the houses we build and distribute will remain strong and enduring regardless of the weather),” he said.

He also reassured the public that his administration would continue working until every Filipino will have a place they call home.

“Tiwala ako sa pagbubuklod nating lahat, unti-unti nantin mabibigyan ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ng maayos at abot kayang tahanan (I am confident that by uniting together, we will gradually be able to give every Filipino family a proper and affordable home),” he added. (PNA)