DAVAO CITY — Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo says she is both excited and impatient after her first 50 days in office.
Robredo recently attended the first day of the Social Development Initiatives Summit and gave updates on the plans of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council held at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, here Wednesday, August 17.
In a chance interview, Robredo said that she saw a lot of things to do and a lot of challenges especially in HUDCC.
“Halo sya ng excitement saka, parang impatience na, lalo sa housing. Nakita ko na sobrang daming kailangang gawin. Marami kang gustong gawin pero marami ding challenges (It’s a mix feeling of excitement and somewhat like impatience, especially in housing. I saw that there is a lot of job to do. You want to do so many things, but you also face a lot of challenges),” Robredo said.
She said that among the challenges is that the HUDCC is just a coordinating council that limits them to do things.
During her presentation at the Summit, Robredo said: “We don’t have a mandate to execute programs, we are limited to coordinating different agencies,” she said.
She said their coordination with housing agencies under the HUDCC also faces a problem because the agencies have their own mandates.
Robredo said they hope that they would be given mandate to synchronize processes, mandates, and jobs of shelter agencies.
Robredo said by the end of 2016 the country has a backlog of 5.56 million housing, 1.4 million of which are informal settlers.
Of the 1.4 million, 40 percent are located in Manila.
“Sa anim na taon ng Duterte administration parang kinakailangan tayong magtayo ng bahay 2,602 houses a day in the next six years,” she said,adding that this will be more difficult due to the 3.4 percent annual increase of slums.
She said access to affordable housing is one of the major challenges that the government is facing. The government, she said, allocates a very little budget for housing services.
Comprehensive housing plan
Robredo said that their immediate plan in the department is to finish a comprehensive housing plan.
She said that for the longest time the direction of the housing services of the government is “not clear”.
Robredo added that she and President Rodrigo Duterte agrees that they should prioritize to provide housing for the poorest in the country. They also agreed that the government will prioritize in-city relocation.
“In the past few years, there were a lot of relocations outside the city that failed. We will prioritize in-city and if possible on-site relocation,” she said.
She said that the local government units where the residents will be resettled sometimes refuse to receive because it affects their resources. She said the LGUs as of now also receive no incentives for accepting relocations.
She said there are also a lot of relocation sites, but the utilities are not yet complete.
Robredo did not finish the first day of the Summit as she left for Manila to catch a bus going to Naga City for the 4th year death anniversary of her husband, former Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Thursday, August 18.
Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418, 817 votes with 263,473 margin against her closest rival, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
She took oath as the head of the HUDCC on July 12. (davaocity.com)