THE Chamber of Real Estate and Builders' Associations (Creba) is pushing for a bill that will support a Comprehensive Home Financing Program (CHFP) to make all income-earning Filipinos entitled to fixed-, low-interest, long-term housing loans.

Creba National President Noel Toti Cariño said in a policy review session with Housing Committee Chairman Rep. Francisco Benitez and OFW party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino at the House of Representatives on Aug. 18, 2022 that the bill is necessary if the government is serious in addressing the country's more than 6.5 million housing backlog.

Under the CHFP bill, the annual funding of P270 billion will be sourced through bond investments by the Social Security System at P25 billion; Government Service Insurance System at P25 billion; a minimum of P70 billion or all of Pag-IBIG Fund's investible funds for housing as allowed by its charter; P100 billion from the unused or residual agricultural-agrarian funds of banks plus a P50-billion government budgetary allocation to serve the informal settlers' segment for 20 years, all with mandatory guaranty cover from the Home Guaranty Corp.

The CHFP is planned to be exclusive for home loan borrowers with no component for development financing to ensure that the funds will go directly for shelter acquisition by the homeless. If passed into law, the bill amends Republic Act 7835, or the "Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act of 1994."

"These fund sources have already been identified by various existing laws and agency charters, and need only to be integrated for effective administration to socialized and economic housing beneficiaries," Cariño said.

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In the proposed law, CHFP loans for residential units shall be up to P1.5 million at 3-percent fixed interest rate for socialized housing and up to P3.2 million at 4 percent for economic housing, VAT-free and payable for up to 30 years.

The bill appoints Pag-IBIG Fund, in partnership with public and private employers, as home loan administrator and collector, with the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. acting as secondary mortgage institution.

Qualified beneficiaries under the Urban Development and Housing Act and who have not acquired housing assistance from any government institution shall also be eligible for home loans through the CHFP.

The group looks at the CHFP program as a major step in addressing the perennial dismal funding allocation for housing which does not even total to 1 percent of the national budget since 2010, a far cry from the amount required to solve a perennially widening housing demand and supply gap.