Gov?t to loan from China to build 1M houses

Zialcita, who chairs the committee on housing and urban development at the House of Representatives, said a million housing units costing P200,000 each will be built to help cut the country's housing backlog of four million units.

The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), he said, will manage the program and is expected to formalize the soft loan package with Chinese counterparts in December.

But Zialcita could not say how many houses will be built in Mindanao out of the loan package. He said the HUDCC will take charge of the allocations.

In July, House Speaker Jose de Venecia announced an offer from two Chinese provinces to build pre-fabricated houses in the Philippines after he toured China for that purpose.

De Venecia was quoted by Manila-based reporters that the proposed housing units would be "anti-typhoon, anti-earthquake and anti-termite."

The units will be "proportionately distributed" around the country to squatters and the homeless along "dangerous areas" such as canal ways, Zialcita told reporters in a press conference here before a public hearing on housing legislation.

Zialcita said the government, expected to sign the contract with the Chinese in December, is arranging a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme. He said the government's role is to guarantee payment of the housing units to cope with the 10-year soft loan package.

HUDCC, Zialcita said, would most likely offer the housing units for a maximum of P1,000 a month installment for 30 to 35 years. He said they are also negotiating for a moratorium of amortization in the first three years of the loan to help the beneficiaries.

According to HUDCC in its website, the government's housing efforts for the next three years will focus on the bottom 40 percent of households because of their inability to get formal housing assistance.

HUDCC said it means providing households with affordable socialized housing either through efficient production of housing units for ownership, rental or through sustainable housing financing. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)