- The 55,000 idle houses will soon be given to government employees and informal settlers
- NHA made this announcement during a public hearing in the Senate
- The NHA gives the PNP and AFP beneficiaries until June 15 to occupy the houses given to them or else these will be granted to other families
The National Housing Authority (NHA) said on Tuesday that it is looking into giving the unoccupied housing projects for police and military personnel to local government employees and informal settlers in the areas where the sites are located.
NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr made this announcement during the Senate public hearing on the urban poor group Kadamay’s forced take over of vacant housing units in Pandi, Bulacan last March.
“Ang di ma-occupy ng AFP-PNP, ibigay natin sa public school teachers, empleyado ng munisipyo at saka barangay at saka informal settlers,” Escalada said.
(Those that won’t be occupied by the AFP-PNP will be given to public school teachers, employees of the municipality and the barangay and informal settlers.)
Based on NHA’s record, there are around 55,000 idle housing units in the project sites intended for police and military personnel in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Senator JV Ejercito, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Resettlement, said that these housing sites only have an occupancy rate of 8% based on a report by the Commission on Audit.
One of the reasons mentioned during the hearing was the off-city location of the housing projects.
“Understandable na mahal ang lupa sa Maynila. Ang nangyayari, bibili sa malayo, bibili sa Bulacan na kahit nasa bundok kahit napakalayo, bibili dun magpaproject dun,” said Ejercito.
(It’s understandable that land in Metro Manila is costly. What happens is that they will buy land from Bulacan even if it is too far, they will buy there and build a project there.)
This was the same complaint of the AFP and PNP representatives who attended the meeting.
PNP’s Police Superintendent Antonio Taylan said the houses were far from their areas while Lieutenant Colonel Vilorna Cabral of the AFP said that their beneficiaries are waiting for the sites to be developed before they can move into them.
However, Escalada gave the awardees until June 15 to move in their homes or else these will be forfeited.
“We have finally set a deadline of May 30 to June 15 for the occupancy. Whether or not the (beneficiaries) would want to occupy them, if they are not occupied after June 15, we might as well give it to Kadamay,” Rappler quoted Escalada.
The NHA chief, however, assured that the payments the AFP and PNP beneficiaries have made for the subsidized housing given to them will be credited.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to give the idle police and military housing to Kadamay members as they resisted successive eviction threats.