Tolentino asks NHA to allow reallocation of unoccupied gov’t housing units

Tolentino asks NHA to allow reallocation of unoccupied gov’t housing units

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino has asked the National Housing
Authority (NHA) to devise guidelines that would enable the government
to reallocate completed but unoccupied government housing units to
qualified beneficiaries, especially the homeless and urban poor.

Tolentino stressed that since government housing units are considered
a public good, unoccupied housing structures should be reallocated to
qualified beneficiaries if the original tenants failed to occupy the
unit within three years.

“We consider these (government housing units) as a public good, and as
a public good, they should benefit the general public,” said
Tolentino.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing
and Resettlement, which is chaired by Tolentino, NHA General Manager
Marcelino P. Escalada Jr. revealed that a number of those who availed
of “low-cost” housing units from the government did so as an
investment, with some owners, even renting out their properties for
significantly more than the monthly amortization they are paying to
the government.

Tolentino told the NHA to properly compensate the original awardees of
housing units who have started paying amortizations once the agency
reallocates their unoccupied units to other beneficiaries.

The senator stressed that allowing government housing units to remain
unused deviates from their original purpose of benefitting the
homeless, especially informal settlers and victims of natural and
man-made disasters.

NHA General Manager Escalada welcomed Tolentino’s proposal and said
that they are drafting policy guidelines for the re-awarding of
low-cost housing units that remain unoccupied within a specific time
frame.(AI/MTVN)

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