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Hontiveros wants NHA unspent funds realigned for Mindanao quake rehab

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday pushed for the realignment of the P3-billion unspent funds of the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) to aid victims of the recent quakes in the Mindanao region.

The unspent funds were from 2018 and previous years, which Hontiveros said could be used for housing and rehabilitation projects in Mindanao.

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The senator chairs the Senate Committee on Finance – Subcommittee “H” which tackles the budget for the housing sector in 2020.

“We don’t want these funds to go stale, so it’s better that they be dedicated to the most urgent needs,” the senator said during the plenary deliberation of the 2020 budget of the government’s key shelter agencies.

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“Dahil sa pinsala na dulot ng lindol sa maraming panig sa Mindanao, maigi na maglaan ang gobyerno ng dagdag na pondo para sa pabahay at imprastrakturang rehabilitasyon ng mga kababayan natin sa Mindanao,” she added.

(Due to the damage brought by the quakes in many parts of Mindanao, it is better for the government to allot additional budget for housing and infrastructure rehabilitation for our affected countrymen in Mindanao.)

Citing the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Hontiveros said that NHA, as well as the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), have very low budget utilization rates.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros also suggested means for the government to explore other options to provide poor families with affordable and decent housing.

Her suggestions include partnering with local government, saying that some local governments have been formulating Local Shelter Plans for years.

Another suggestion is possible partnerships with private developments as she cited previous Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) entered into by the government, including the NHA.

“Let’s see which partnerships work and are effective in allowing us to hit more of our housing targets. Successful ones should be scaled up and replicated in the long-term,” Hontiveros said.

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Edited by JE

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