HOUSING MATTERS 

  • Page Views 385
  • Not even a hundred days in office, President Duterte’s cabinet secretary for agrarian reform announced a major economic policy that imposes a two year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses.

    The proposed ban is almost total. Agricultural land, no matter how unviable for planting, cannot be converted for better uses in industry, commerce and housing.

    While the intentions are laudable: social justice for farmers, self sufficency in food, land to the landless and inequitable distribution of wealth, the proposed solution will create more social and economic disruptions than the benefits it intends to produce.

    For starters, it is not an inclusive policy as it shuts out so many vital sectors of the economy and one of the sectors that will be hit is mass housing,

    When we look at housing statistics: a 5.7 million housing backlog, growing at 5% per year versus an annual supply of only 250,000 housing units, you know right away that something is amiss.

    Instead of creating more jobs, businesses and housing, the moratorium stops development in the countryside where it is needed most. Worse, it adds to congestion of cities already burgeoned with over concentration of population. The buzzword today is in fact “urban dispersal”.

    It is a well-accept thesis in development that no country has ever become rich without massive urbanization. The moratorium negates this.

    And yet, housing matters.

    It matters to the economy. Housing has one of the highest multiplier effects to GNP. A seven times multiplier. It has the widest linkages to downstream and upstream industries, from cement, steel and paint, to furniture and household consumer products. At least 500 industries. It generates massive employment from construction workers, sales agents and security guards.

    Housing creates entrepreneurship as it allows households to engage in micro enterprises from the ubiquitous sari-sari store to home-based services and even transport.

    Best of all, housing creates a more stable and inclusive and Philippine society.

    Let’s take a look at some more economic analysis.

    Based on a recent study, using data for all regions from the past 5 years, it show that a skewed focus on agriculture can cause the region to lag behind in regional income.

    This could mean that, either certain regions aren’t as conducive for agriculture, or that the sector has failed to modernize and increase its productivity. On the other hand, regions focused on services or industry contribute much more to economic activity.

    DAR should understand that mass housing is actually the twin brother of Agrarian Reform.

    While they seek to provide land to landless farmers, mass housing also provides the “homeless” middle and lower economic classes with their first real property asset: their own home. Both distribute land to the landless, In DAR’s case, farm lots; in our case, residential lots, thus both of us are able to create a more inclusive Philippine society in our own ways.

    Urbanization is inevitable if we are to develop as a nation. But urban growth must be inclusive; that is why agrarian reform and mass housing must be put together in the same plate.

    While food security is a good goal, DAR’s policies should not be done in isolation without an analysis of its effects on other sectors that are also as vital to a nation’s social and economic development. In helping our farmers with a moratorium, other citizens are locked out.

    If food security is indeed the goal, then emphasis should not be on protecting agricultural land area. Only less that 2% of agriland has been converted since 1988.

    TWO PERCENT.

    Emphasis should increasing farm yield instead. And this is where agrarian reform ties up with other sectors like manufacturing, chemicals, construction, IT, that levels up the technology of agriculture while being less dependent on hectarage.

    I really hope we can rethink the moratorium.

    BY JJ Atencio

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 27 May 2017
      3 hours ago No comment

      “WILDFLOWER” HITS NEW ALL-TIME HIGH RATING

      Most watched program on iWant TV…  ABS-CBN’s hit primetime series “Wildflower” continues to captivate more viewers as it hit its newest all-time high national TV rating last Tuesday (May 16) and continues to be the most watched program online via iWant TV. According to data from Kantar Media, “Wildflower” ...

    • 27 May 2017
      8 hours ago No comment

      Stars and more stars on ‘ASAP’ stage

      THE “ASAP” stage at the Big Dome last Sunday was groaning with the combined weight of the brightest artists as Star Magic celebrated its 25th anniversary party on the show. The premier talent management arm of ABS-CBN marked 25 years of discovering, honing and bringing out the industry’s leading ...

    • 27 May 2017
      10 hours ago No comment

      ABS-CBN’S TFC Live Brings “ASAP Live in Toronto”, the Year’s Biggest Filipino Event to Celebrate the Cultural Diversity of Canada 150

      Canada truly embraces diversity and two of its world-renowned leaders emphasized this as they ushered in 2017. On the eve of the beginning of the of the 150th anniversary of Canada – also known as the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation – no less than Queen Elizabeth II, the ...

    • 27 May 2017
      12 hours ago No comment

      Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on an apparent terrorist attack in Manchester, United Kingdom

      Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on an apparent terrorist attack in Manchester, United Kingdom: “I was devastated when I heard about the innocent victims who were killed or injured at the Ariana Grande concert tonight in Manchester – many of them ...

    • 24 May 2017
      3 days ago No comment

      Pinoy tracksters bag 4 medals in Singapore Open

      Philippine bets delivered one gold, three silver and three bronze medals in the 79th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships held recently at the Singapore Sports Hub National Stadium in Singapore. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta standout Francis Medina won the lone gold medal for the Philippines when ...

    %d bloggers like this: