Despite a previous spat, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) chairman Terry Ridon lauded on Thursday Sen. Franklin Drilon’s call to restore next year’s housing budget to at least 2017 levels.
Ridon, who clashed with the former Senate President on the controversial Iloilo Convention Center during the previous Congress, thanked Drilon for pushing to restore the PCUP’s budget as it faces a proposed 70-percent reduction from P15.3 billion this year to P4.4 billion in 2018.
“No one has raised the crippling effect of slashing housing funds but him. As it is right now, our housing agencies are hard-pressed to solve the 2022 six million housing backlog. Imagine how such efforts would be hindered by reducing, instead of increasing the budget,” Ridon said.
He agreed with the senator’s stand that housing projects have a “multiplier effect on the economy,” noting that decent shelter has also been known to increase the well-being and productivity of its beneficiaries.
Ridon said that the National Housing Authority and other key shelter agencies should be proactive and address the growing informal settler populations in cities in the Visayas, including Drilon’s home province of Iloilo.
“Senator Drilon’s budget intervention on housing should also rightly fund emerging metropolitan areas like Iloilo and Bacolod” Ridon noted.
“The urban poor in these cities should be given the same attention as those in Metro Manila, especially when the former are often buffeted by typhoons,” he said.
Ridon said the PCUP plans to hold regional urban poor caucuses to mobilize support for Drilon’s call to increase housing sector funding, which is to be held at the end of the month. /jpv
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