THE Board of Investments (BOI) is encouraging property developers to help the government rehabilitate Marawi City by erecting mass housing projects there.

Fe Del Rosario, officer-in-charge of BOI’s Investment Policy and Planning Service, urged property developers to consider locating their socialized housing requirement in Marawi City or in calamity-stricken areas not just to spread investments in these areas but also to help in the rebuilding efforts of the government. Doing so would also encourage people not to leave their hometowns.

One of the features of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) is to attract investment and new capital, as well as to create jobs faster in sectors and regions that are underserved.

Specifically for mass housing, the new IPP reduces the price ceiling for BOI-registered mass housing units to P2 million from P3 million previously. Except for in-city low-cost housing for lease, only projects located outside Metro Manila may qualify for investment perks.

“With this new tool, we will be able to attract companies to go outside the concentrated areas and erect their projects in areas that badly need investments to spur inclusive growth,” said del Rosario.

The country’s housing backlog is currently estimated at 5.7 million units.

Experts believe the number has increased as more Filipinos were displaced or needed new homes because of natural calamities and the ongoing fight in Marawi City.

Both condominium and subdivision developers are now mandated to build socialized housing projects.

Under the Balanced Housing Development Act or Republic Act 10884, condominium developers are mandated to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least five percent of the total condominium area or total project cost.

Subdivision developers, on the other hand, are mandated to allocate 15 percent of the total project area for socialized housing, a reduction from the previous 20 percent requirement.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allotted about P5 billion this year and P10 billion for next year to rehabilitate Marawi City.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier pledged P20 billion to rebuild the city where government forces have been fighting Islamic State supporters since late May.

Last Saturday, the Senate and the House of Representatives voted 261-18 to extend martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, a move welcomed by the Malacañang because it is “essential to the (country’s) overall peace and stability.” (KOC)