HOUSING MATTERS 

  • Page Views 471
  • 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

    • 20 September 2017
      2 days ago No comment

      Pinay charged in Toronto for alleged remittance fraud

      Mary Jane Soriano, 43, is facing four charges in an ongoing fraud Investigation by the Toronto police. The Toronto Police Service has advised the public that Soriano was arrested. The police alleged that between October 2016 and August 2017, a woman took money from clients, under the pretense of ...

    • 15 September 2017
      7 days ago No comment

      Pia Wurtzbach now has 5M followers on Instagram

      In just a few months, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach amassed another one million followers on Instagram.   The Filipino-German beauty queen marked her social media milestone on Tuesday, posting a photo of herself doing the Korean “finger heart” gesture. “Here’s to 5 million strong! Mahal ko kayo! Maraming salamat po! ...

    • 15 September 2017
      7 days ago No comment

      Ellen Adarna says she’s ‘just friends’ with John Lloyd Cruz

      Are they dating or not? Speculations have surrounded the close relationship between Ellen Adarna and John Lloyd Cruz after the two have been spotted together in the company of friends many times this year. But the model and actress said in an exclusive ABS-CBN interview that they were just ...

    • 15 September 2017
      7 days ago No comment

      ‘A Love To Last’ stars share their love lessons

      How special is Gerald Andeson to Bea Alonzo? The actress was asked at the press con of her soap, “A Love To Last,” which is now on its final few weeks. Alonzo, who has long been rumoured to have reconnected with Anderson years after their short-lived affair, admitted he’s ...

    • 14 September 2017
      1 week ago No comment

      COBS BREAD HOSTS FUNDRAISING WEEKEND THROUGH BREAKFAST PROGRAM

      COBS BREAD HOSTS FUNDRAISING WEEKEND AIMS TO PROVIDE 150,000 BREAKFASTS TO CANADIAN CHILDREN THROUGH BREAKFAST PROGRAM VANCOUVER– COBS Bread is pleased to be partnering with Breakfast Club of Canada to raise funds to help feed the one in five Canadian children still at risk of going to school without ...

    %d bloggers like this: