Solon hits NHA over huge housing backlog

A MILITANT lawmaker slammed the National Housing Authority (NHA) for keeping its money idle in the bank while there is a massive housing backlog.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas noted a Commission on Audit (COA) report that NHA has P11.6 billion in its bank account.

The COA report disclosed that the agency’s idle funds almost doubled from P6.68 billion in 2016 to P11.6 billion as of end of 2017, or a 73.7 percent increase.

Brosas wants  the NHA to explain why it is keeping a huge amount of money when there are Filipinos who need low-cost but decent houses from the government

“The NHA is creating conditions for its defunding and for the full corporatization of mass housing by keeping P11.6 billion, which are mostly from people’s taxes, idle in its bank account,” Brosas said.

“Sa konteksto ng napakalaking housing backlog na nasa 5.7 milyon at kaliwa’t kanang demolisyon, paano naaatim ng NHA na magkaroon ng ganitong naka-tenggang pondo?” she asked.

The COA report indicated that on top of the P19.56 billion subsidy from the national government, the NHA collected in 2017 P10.23 billion from awardees and beneficiaries, which are mostly poor families, mainly in the form of amortization.

Around P14.24 billion, which constitutes the bulk of its expenditures, went to its shady contractors during the same year.

In the 2019 proposed national budget, the NHA’s budget was slashed by P2.9 billion.

“No wonder that in the proposed 2019 national budget, the budget was cut with technically not a single centavo for the construction of mass housing units. Things should not work this way. The NHA should shape up and stop fully relying on joint ventures and amortization collections to perform its mandate,” Brosas said.

“Ang nakakagalit dito, pinipiga ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan sa maraming relocation sites at housing projects sa mga bayarin tapos ipambabayad lang pala ito sa mga palpak at kwestinableng mga contractor. Patuloy naming itutulak ang imbestigasyon sa mga anomalyang ito,” she added.