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Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations (Creba) soldiers on for the industry’s continuous recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under its “Creba Tulong na Bigas Para sa Manggagawang Hirap” program, the country’s largest real estate umbrella organization has distributed some 7,000 rice packs for 35,000 family members from 60 barangays in Manila, Pasig, Marikina, Taytay, Cainta, GMA, San Jose and Carmona in Cavite, and Malvar in Batangas.
Realizing the need to cushion the industry from the head-on impacts of the prolonged executive community quarantines, Creba also moved to appeal for the resumption of housing, building and infrastructure construction projects stalled by COVID-19 under a “productive work-site quarantine” mode, provided of course that all necessary health and safety protocols are observed.
The organization is thankful that Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario championed this initiative until the IATF and other concerned agencies allowed various real estate construction and activities to resume. For their part, real estate developers and service practitioners rolled out creative, efficient, safe and innovative ways to proceed with operations in the new normal.
Creba has laid out several other equally important proposals which have earned the support of DHSUD. These include capping of interest rates for new and existing loans up to a maximum of 3 percent for a period not less than three years until the economy has fully recovered. It believes this will be a significant assistance to small- and medium-sized developers who depend on bank financing for their projects.
The organization also recommended maintaining mass housing up to P3 million per unit in the Investment Priority Plan of the Board of Investments (BOI) and averting the imposition of VAT on housing purchases of up to P3.2 million per unit. This is in anticipation of sudden housing price surges which may result in less affordable housing for the millions of still homeless Filipinos.
Creba has also lobbied for the freezing of real property taxes at current levels for at least two years to support the millions of homeless Filipinos and boost their capacity to acquire economic and higher housing packages beyond the lockdown period. It also appealed to Congress that housing production, particularly for the underprivileged sector, be included in the industries being prioritized for various economic relief measures.
While two proposals under its Five-Point Housing Agenda have been enacted into law, the umbrella organization is set on its vision in abating the country’s 6.5 million housing backlog. Creba looks forward to seeing the establishment of the Comprehensive Home Financing Program through the amendment of the CISFA law to tap P270 billion in unused funds that have already been allocated for housing by various existing laws.
It is pushing for the passage of the Valuation Reform Bill as well as the institution of a National Land Use Plan, and for the Housing One-Stop Processing Centers in the regions to start operations. The latter is designed to centralize and fast-track the processing and issuance of housing-related permits, clearances and licenses in accordance with EO 45 of 2001.
Creba hopes that its proposals be considered as the government leads the nation and steers the direction of the economy to recovery amid these extremely challenging times.
This article was originally published by Inquirer.net / Din M. Villafuerte.