PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday bared his government’s plan to build more mid- and high-rise houses for poor Filipinos.

In a speech at an event in Naic, Cavite province where housing units were turned over to 30,000 Filipino families, the president cited the lack of land for housing projects in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

“It is now hard to look for land so it is more efficient now to build mid-rise housing projects,” Mr. Marcos said.

The president said he might revive a housing project started by his late father called the Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS) to house poor Filipinos in urban areas.

“The BLISS project, that’s where mid-rise or five- to six-story buildings started,” he said. “But now since it’s difficult, maybe we can build them taller. Maybe we can make high-rise buildings.”

The government is still studying the plan and would pursue these projects on a case-to-case basis, he added.

The state will continue building row houses, with about 30,000 units distributed in 13 regions on Monday.

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development must ensure that government housing sites are located in areas with adequate facilities, Mr. Marcos said. Travel time to work or school should not exceed an hour, he added.

“There should be a market or small mall nearby where people can buy stuff,” he said in Filipino.

In Cavite, the president visited the Parkstones Residences housing development where he ordered local officials to develop nearby areas to improve residents’ quality of life.

Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla told beneficiaries of the housing project not to sell or rent out their properties, which he said is illegal.

“Don’t sell these houses or the rights to these because that’s where you’d have problems with documentation,” she said in Filipino.

Beneficiaries of the 26-square-meter units in Naic will pay at least P600 a month for the first five years. The amortization will increase every five years, and they are expected to fully own the property after three decades.

The one-bedroom unit in Naic costs almost P600,000.

The local government plans to develop an export processing zone in Cavite to open up more job opportunities for housing beneficiaries, Ms. Mercado said.

The government has set a target of a million housing units built yearly in the next six years. — NPA