Vice President and housing czar Jejomar C. Binay today asked socialized housing developers to help address the need to relocate families affected by the flood, as well as informal settler families living in danger areas, to safe areas which also provide basic services and a sustainable environment.

            "The urgent need now is to relocate the affected families not only to safe locations but also to areas which provide basic services and a sustainable environment. It is also our priority to remove informal settler families (ISFs) from danger areas," said Binay during the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) 2012 National Convention in Muntinlupa City.

            The Vice President called on the OSHDP to assist in efforts to fast track the construction of housing units for the resettlement of informal settler families.

            "In socialized housing, it is time to find new ways of doing things. In socialized housing, it is time to have an agenda of hope. We must now do not just housing but sustainable housing. And sustainable because it is meant to respond to climate change, to mitigate its effects, and as a means to progress," he added.

            "To achieve this, I propose to continue to bring together closely private sector developers, the LGUs, and urban planners. Then let us put our heads together with other local and international organizations who understand urban development and housing in the light of climate change. Then we integrate all our approaches," the Vice President said.

            Binay also said that the housing sector is crafting local government policies encouraging the use of green technologies, which will "engage families to participate in efforts to create climate-resilient cities and to protect the environment."

            These policies will require the involvement of the poor in identifying risks and relevant actions; as well as take into account the needs of vulnerable sectors during calamities, such as women, children, and the elderly.

            According to Binay, the government is also adopting the Accreditation of Indigenous Technologies (AITECH) for housing, which promotes the use of indigenous and green technology in construction.

            The Vice President expressed hope that the OSHDP will help not only in utilizing innovative technologies that "showcase Filipino ingenuity", but also in developing new and appropriate ones.

            "Such technologies must help make social housing eco-friendly, as much as bring down costs. And you can be assured that, one, we will support the developers with innovative solutions; and two, we will educate the communities they serve about the importance of sustainable living," he added.

            He also revealed plans of a program, called "The Working People's Shelter Program", which would lead to the construction of more houses for the poor.

            "The employer-private partner advances the Pag-ibig Fund membership dues and also guarantees the payment of housing units. The Pag-ibig Fund releases the developmental loan to the employer, who will then engage a private developer to undertake housing construction, or via a retail loan to the buyer or employee. If the beneficiary fails to pay, the employer buys back the housing unit and commits to replace the buyer or employee," he explained.

            Binay added that the scheme would enable greater convergence as national and local government agencies seek to provide the community's basic requirements such as health and education.

            "This Working People’s Shelter Program is an example of how our partnerships should be, where all stakeholders work together seamlessly, while mutually benefitting from the program."

            The Vice President also lauded the OSHDP's efforts to provide houses that cost less than the current P400,000- priced houses available in the lower housing brackets, which alongside existing Pag-IBIG Fund programs, could cater to the non-formal sectors such as drivers and "kasambahay", among others.