WITH an enormous backlog of some 2.7 million housing units annually, the government barely meets the goals of its shelter agenda nationwide.

This was reported by famous community builder and developer Delfin Lee in a briefing to local media on the state of the national housing program.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Lee, President and CBO of Globe Asiatique Realty, articulated the problem of fellow developers who are partners with the government to meet the housing shortage through low cost and socialized housing projects. The whole industry output is only about l80,000 units yearly.

The developers exposed the ills that impede and paralyze the low cost housing program. These were attributed to bad and unstable policies of the people administering the Pag-Ibig Fund.

In area conferences elsewhere, developers denounced a long-time professional clique managing the state Fund. Its key leaders, while going through the motion of promoting and serving Pag-Ibig members interest were virtually raising barriers to prevent mass lending activities for housing.

At first the institution, to comply with its duties, excites homebuyers to avail of the housing loans. When the market demand mounted, they put applicants to an obstacle course, with hurdles of unreasonable requirements, it was learned.

Even the indefatigable and straight-shooting former Vice President and Pag-Ibig chief Noli de Castro was held hostage by the Fund handlers. Noli was in the virtual control of the mafia in the state Fund.

Developers reported the well-entrenched syndicate works like a gang that dictates and controls policy making, strategy formulation. The group overwhelmed whoever is the Fund head, as in the case of Kabayan Noli, by their razzle-dazzle manipulation and extrapolation of statistics and manufactured figures.

As it is true with syndicates inside public office, the Pag-Ibig executives are in top management positions, mostly career service officers. They are held by one thread- the genetic mindset that make them act as though they own the Fund resources and decide in a manner they please.

With this disease plaguing the Fund management system, lending policies make it difficult for borrowers to avail of their housing loan, usually for socialized and low-cost units. Pag-Ibig members contribute about P40 billion annually in membership dues. No interests are paid for their investments.

The maverick low-cost housing industry icon disclosed that the Fund managers where happy and felt fulfilled in investing the members fund in treasury bonds which bring in 4% interest. The well-defined policies in lending and investment mandate that 70% of the Fund be used for the shelter program. This is being circumvented at will as excess funds are diverted to the bond market for easy returns instead of using these for the original purpose of providing sustenable loans for housing.

Delfin Lee whose vast GA projects and personal holdings could make him relax and live a life of luxurious comfort has decided to live an examined life. He prefers to establish legacy projects which make him an agent of human transformation by developing model community life and fostering dignity in human habitation.

His report to media, it appears, was also aimed to bring up the problems and maladies afflicting the government shelter program to the Aquino government. He said the housing industry can be a lynchpin to the President Aquino's socio-economic agenda. Citing the economic multiplier effects of one house built in a community, Lee traced the concentric circles of beneficiaries involved with just a singular unit constructed.

Pag-Ibig Fund handlers, using the mantle of protecting the Fund from misuse, self-aborted corporate capabilities to increase and widen membership services for housing needs. Expanding and liberalizing loan policies and freeing excess capital for the shelter program seemed farthest from their intent. This is lawfully carried out by imposing stringent, oft-times, unreasonable and unnecessary documentary and allied requirements to stem a rising market demand.

Lee hoped that President Aquino appoints a Pag-Ibig head who understands and will commit to pursue and implement the Fund mandate to address the housing shortage nationwide.

"As of now" he rued, "the handlers and managers prefer to take it easy and relax rather than push themselves and the Fund resources to maximize lending to serve growing members' needs."

With fewer loans to manage and monitor, the people concerned are free from administrative burden.

They would rather wait for the Treasury bonds placements to mature rather than push the mandate to encourage massive housing to alleviate the shortage.

As this developed, Press Club president Perry Pangan said he will inform Congresswoman Gloria M. Arroyo of Lee's proposal for a Congressional investigation to which the economist former president may provide output and support. Principal proponent will be Rep. RG Valencia, a veteran realtor developer.

An example of a "killer" move by Pag-Ibig officials to dampen prospective borrowers for housing loans was an Amendment to the End User Home Financing Program which makes it doubly difficult for members and self-employed/informal applicants thus:

"A Member with less than the required number of contributions applying for a Pag-Ibig housing loans shall be allowed to make a lump sum payment based on the mandatory monthly contribution rates (both EE and ER share) to meet such requirement a point of loan application, provided he has been contributing member of the Fund for at least twelve (12) months. Lump sum payment of membership contributions shall be considered a single contribution for the applicable month as of the payment date. To take effect 1 July 2010."

To President Aquino, here is one crying challenge to his reform agenda for change.