A SENATOR on Monday pushed for the construction of resettlement sites within or at the outskirts of urban areas, where beneficiaries of housing programs can still have easy access to livelihood, utilities, and public services.   

Senator Joseph Victor JVG. Ejercito, during a hearing on Monday, said informal settlers should be given meaningfulrelocation as he backed several bills that seek to institutionalize on-site, in-city and near-city housing projects.   

He said the national governments current housing projects are mostly built out of compliance,with sites far from workplaces and basic social services.   

If houses are built just for compliance and living conditions of potential occupants are not considered, a noble cause to provide shelter is bound to fail,said Mr. Ejercito, chair of the Senate Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement Committee.  

“Even if our government builds thousands of housing units, if they are far from the ISFs (informal settler families) places of work and lack basic facilities such as health facilities, educational facilities, they will leave them again,” he added.  

He cited the St. Josephville project in San Juan as an example of a successful in-city resettlement project, which was undertaken when he was city mayor.   

It is the St. Josephville which seems to have become a blueprint for in-city projects in different parts of the Philippines,he said. In-city resettlement has also been implemented in Iloilo City and Valenzuela City.  

The senator also called for the renewal of the corporate charter of the National Housing Authority (NHA), which is set to expire in 2025.  

We recognize the vital role of the agency in the housing sector as the sole production arm of the government,he said. We must not disarm the NHA with their mandate. 

We cannot meet our target of building a million houses per year and six million by the end of President (Ferdinand) Bongbong Marcosterm if the NHA will cease to exist,he added. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan