By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
MANILA — Employees of the National Housing Authority (NHA) are against plans of the Benigno Aquino government to privatize housing services and to create a Department of Housing and Urban Development. NHA employees and urban poor organizations under the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) have been fighting against moves to privatize public housing and legislative proposals on the same since the year 2000 and since the 9th Congress.
Their stand against the DHUD also had to do with the proposed reorganization of the government’s seven key shelter agencies including the NHA. In the line of fire are the jobs of at least 5,000 employees.
The proposed DHUD is among the President Benigno Aquino’s 12 priority bills he presented to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) in its February meeting.
The proposal aims for the merging of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Mutual Fund Development Corporation (PAG-IBIG fund), Home Guarantee Corporation, Housing and Urban Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Home Mortgage and Finance Corporation and the NHA.The NHA is the government’s lead agency and corporation engaged in direct shelter provision.
Through the years, these housing programs are considered secondary to the more lucrative economic housing programs which targets well-to-do families. Among such schemes calls for the use of private funds of workers and employees invested in the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), and Pag-Ibig as guaranty for investors. Socialized housing is beyond what many poor Filipinos can afford, and critics of the DHUD and housing privatization say that the situation will worsen if the DHUD is established. (Photos courtesy of Consolidated Union of Employees (CUE-NHA) / )