Centralized Housing Finance Plan Rejected

Article excerpt

President Estrada has rejected the centralized housing finance program (CHFP) proposed by the Federation of Regional Development Councils (FRDC) and the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders' Associations (CREBA).

The President rejected the proposal of FRDC Chairman Rodolfo Valencia and CREBA President Jaime Cura upon the recommendation of the Economic Coordinating Council (ECC) and his senior economic advisers.

This clarification was issued yesterday by Sergio Andal, Jr., secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, to refute the claims of Valencia and Cura that President Estrada had allegedly approved the project and that HUDCC has refused to implement the same.

Andal said that the FRDC and CREBA had gone through great length to openly oppose the current housing efforts of the President while batting for the rejected proposal.

The CHFP proposed by the two groups requires the government to put up a centralized home financing program with a P120 billion one-time seed fund to be administered by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).

The proposal was presented to the Presidential Commission on Mass Housing's member agencies and to the government's economic managers by Valencia and CREBA's Manuel Serrano.

The heads of PCMH member agencies and the government's economic advisers, however, were unanimous in viewing the proposal as "not economically viable, not legally feasible and not politically acceptable."

Among those who attended the consultation on the CHFP were Finance Secretary Jose Pardo, Trade Secretary Mar Roxas, NEDA Director-General Felipe Medalla, Bangko Sentral Gov. Rafael Buenaventura, SSS President Carlos Arellano, GSDIS President Federico Pascual, HGC President Wilfredo Hernandez, and HDMF President Ramon Palma-Gil.

During the consultation itself, CHFP proponent Valencia himself admitted some shortcomings in the proposal. Among these, he said was the unsuitability of the NHMFC as the vehicle for securities and bond issued, the viability of the funding requirement, and the legality of requiring banks to assign unused portions of their "agri-agra" funds for housing purposes. …