A PROPERTY developer turned over 633 socialized housing units yesterday in the Sunrise Place Mactan project, which occupies a 4.2-hectare property in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City.

The project, estimated to have cost P80 million to develop, excluding the cost of land acquisition, is the first socialized housing project of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) in Cebu.

It sold each house-and-lot package, with a floor area of 20 square meters, for P400,000.

With loans from the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-ibig Fund), the homeowners can acquire their new homes for a monthly amortization of P2,927.

“This is the first successful socialized housing project in the Visayas,” said FLI Area General Manager for the Visayas Allan Alfon, quoting the director of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Alixes Roy Lopez. He explained that the project has been sold out since development started two years ago.

Most of the buyers, FLI said, were government employees and workers in the city’s economic zones. At present, 200 of the total number of units have been turned over, and 30 are already occupied.

Under a city ordinance, Local Housing Board secretary Romeo Berame said that developers in Lapu-Lapu City are required to put up a socialized housing project within the city.

This is line with the balanced housing requirement under Republic Act 7279, which requires developers to allot 20 percent of a housing project’s total cost for the construction of socialized housing units. Each socialized housing unit’s selling price should not be more than P450,000.

Sunrise Place more than meets the socialized housing requirement for two projects of FLI in Lapu-Lapu City, the Aldea del Sol and Mactan Tropics, said FLI Cebu business development officer Archie Igot.

“More importantly, this is our answer to the call of providing affordable housing,” Alfon said.

He added that the firm is consolidating more properties in nearby areas to expand its socialized housing project.

According to Berame in a phone interview, the City has a 25-hectare property in Barangay Canjulao that was identified as a socialized housing site under a presidential proclamation during the time of president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Needs partners

However, private claims have delayed its development. Berame said that the City has sent a request to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cancel the claims of private individuals.

Meanwhile, City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said that the City is looking into the possibility of entering into a public-private partnership (PPP) with developers for more socialized housing projects.

Under a PPP for socialized housing, the local government unit can provide the land, while the developer will shoulder the cost of building the houses.

In 2014, Pag-ibig wholesale lending assistant department manager Senen D. Catingub Jr. said roughly 20 percent of the 5,000 units in Pag-ibig were acquired using affordable housing loans of not more than P750,000. These loans bear an interest rate of at least 4.5 percent, fixed for 10 years.

For this year, Pag-ibig’s target is to approve P5.2 billion in housing loans. Catingub encouraged low and middle-income earners to avail themselves of a housing loan, adding that if all the requirements are ready, the loan can be approved within 22 days or less.