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Manila congressman hails appointment of Acuzar to DHSUD; wants more housing financing options for pinoys

Joel Chua

Manila third District Representative Joel Chua said he wants to see diversified housing financing options aside from the mainly PAG-IBIG Home Mutual Development Fund-led one most Filipino families are able to get.

Chua told an interview that he would like to see more private sector involvement and corporate social responsibility-oriented participation, plus foreign financing from the Asian Development Bank.

The congressman-lawyer said one model for this is the experience of Singapore’s Housing Board which had help from the ADB and that island-state’s private banks.

Atty. Chua also said he looks ahead to seeing more Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development support to local governments’ housing programs, which is among the mandates of the department in its charter, RA 11201

Rep. Chua said he awaits the detailed plans and programs of DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino ‘Jerry’ Acuzar, whom he said brings to DHSUD “decades of expertise in housing, urban planning, and built environments adapted to the hazards of nature and the elements.”

“He (Acuzar) also brings to DHSUD experiences from his youth, family life, and the struggles of the poor, low-income, and the lower middle-income households,” Chua had said in a statement.

Chua also said he is “glad a respected industry leader in the person of the esteemed Secretary Acuzar, is the new Secretary of the DHSUD.

“Until such time a new agency is created to be responsible for disaster resilience policy and programs, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is the agency with some new mandates in its charter that apply. I am glad a respected industry leader in the person of the esteemed Jose Rizalino ‘Jerry’ Acuzar, is the new Secretary of the DHSUD. Secretary Acuzar is only the second person appointed to lead DHSUD. He brings to DHSUD decades of expertise in housing, urban planning, and built environments adapted to the hazards of nature and the elements. He also brings to DHSUD experiences from his youth, family life, and the struggles of the poor, low-income, and lower-middle-income households,” said Chua.

This early, while Secretary Acuzar is just days into a new chapter in his illustrious career, the Manila Congressman commited to work harmoniously with him and apply reasonable congressional oversight.

“As the Representative in Congress of the hundreds of thousands of residents of Sta. Cruz, San Nicolas, Quiapo, and Binondo, I see Secretary Acuzar as an ally to greatly improve the plight of the urban poor of Manila and the poor and low-income families nationwide,” he said.

I firmly believe we have common ground with Secretary Acuzar and DHSUD on matters such as vertical housing solutions, livable human habitats concepts, disaster resilience, and climate change adaptation. The Binondominium 1 already standing in our district is clear proof vertical housing is one of several appropriate solutions to the lack of decent housing for the urban poor, he added.

Chua cited the fire in Sta. Cruz just days ago as yet another reminder of the need for livable human habitats where fire and other hazards are minimal, preventable, and anticipated, stressing that the continuing struggles of informal settlers in Manila’s third district can be gradually solved with better solutions and lessons learned from failed resettlement programs and urban rehab projects like the ones done in Smokey Mountain.

“For urban renewal and preservation of cultural heritage, there is perhaps no better champion than Secretary Acuzar. We only have to point to the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, and to the many heritage houses and structures he saved from decay in Manila and elsewhere. In the Third District of Manila, there remain many houses and buildings in dire need of rescue,” he added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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