HUMAN Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Acuzar has conferred with local chief executives in Iloilo province and the Visayas on the implementation of the Marcos administration's program to address the country's housing backlog and resettle informal settler families (ISFs) to safer grounds.

Acuzar, along with other kaey DHSUD officials, met with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Iloilo Gov. Art Defensor to strengthen the stakeholders' engagement to promote President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s priority housing program in the region.

During the meeting, he introduced the President's national housing program to the officials of the local government units (LGUs) and inspected several proposed housing project sites in the region.

In a statement, the DHSUD highlighted the significant role of LGUs in the successful implementation of the government's housing program.

"Major cities and provinces in the Visayas recorded a significant number of informal settler families and people living in calamity-prone areas. So it is a must to also prioritize the Visayas group of islands," Acuzar said.

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"We must join President Marcos' call for unity to uplift the lives of our kababayan (countrymen) who are dreaming to have decent, affordable and sustainable houses of their own," he added.

Acuzar said part of the administration's priority is addressing the more than 6.5 million housing backlog, including the estimated 3.7 million ISFs throughout the country.

Most of the local leaders committed to support the housing blueprint of the Marcos administration and expressed their readiness to allot land resources for the development of new project sites, including turning esteros into parks and walkways to help in the restoration and rehabilitation of waterways.

"I am confident in the help of our LGUs to develop and transform these informal settlements into prime residential and world-class developments for the benefit of our countrymen, especially those in the low-income bracket," Acuzar said.