DAVAO CITY – Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as Pag-IBIG Fund, is increasing its loan takeout target in Mindanao to P8.6 billion this year after a surge in demand surge in key cities, including Iligan and Cagayan de Oro where some Marawi City residents are looking to relocate.

Marilene C. Acosta, deputy chief executive officer for the Home Lending Operations Cluster, said the original 2017 target was P7.5 billion, but Pag-IBIG’s Mindanao offices have submitted a higher “fearless forecast” for around 8,600 borrowers.

“That is the challenge,” Ms. Acosta said in a media briefing here Thursday.

As of end-August, she reported, the takeout stood at P4.4 billion covering 4,951 borrowers.

Loan takeout is the process by which loan-originating banks, working with housing developers, turn over control of the mortgage to Pag-IBIG.

“There is still a significant amount to cover for Mindanao from September to December. That would mean an average of P1 billion takeout (monthly) so that they can hit the P8.6 billion,” she said.

Lawyer Marie Antoniette D. Diaz, a Department manager for the Pag-IBIG Davao office, said the fund is optimistic of achieving the target because of an increasing loan demand from members and the entry of new housing developers, particularly in the cities of Davao and General Santos.

“These are the two cities identified. However, we are looking into and trying to partner with other stakeholders such as Dole Philippines (Inc.), in Polomolok. Dole has contributed land wherein they have partnered with a developer and constructed (housing) for their employees,” Ms. Diaz said.

Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti, for his part, said there is no indication that the crisis in Marawi City, where government troops have been battling IS-inspired local terror group Maute since late May,has dampened the interest of borrowers.

On the contrary, he said, there has been a spike in loan takeout in Iligan City, which is near Marawi, and where many displaced residents have moved, as well as in Cagayan de Oro City, located about 100 kilometers away.

Mr. Moti cited as an example the opening of the Camella project in Iligan of Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., one of Pag-IBIG’s partner developers, due to strong demand.

“So we encourage our developers to go to Iligan, the same in CDO, there’s a huge demand there because of Maranaos (former Marawi residents) who now prefer to stay in safer areas. We are encouraging everyone to avail of countryside housing as it produces quality big houses at very affordable rate,” he said.

The Pag-IBIG head said the agency’s portfolio is moving towards a higher share for areas outside the capital.

“Our regional operations used to be around 50% to 53%, now it’s hitting almost 60% to 65%,” Mr. Moti said.

Pag-IBIG’s nationwide takeout target for the year is P65 billion, up from P50.5 billion last year. Mr. Moti said actual takeout extended in 2016 hit P57.3 billion.

“Our (original) target this year was just P55 billion… (but) during a meeting we asked ourselves: Do we just want to relax and hit P55 billion or do we push some more and provide more housing and allow more members to have their dream homes. So the decision was to push,” he said. – Maya M. Padillo