THE Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on Monday kicked off this year’s National Shelter Month (NSM) highlighting President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s “Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino: Zero ISF 2028″ program.
This year’s NSM will have an array of activities and programs aimed at further equipping Filipinos with more knowledge of their financial options in acquiring safe and sustainable homes.
Aptly themed “Abot-kayang pabahay tungo sa panatag na buhay,” this year’s celebration is reiterating the Department’s ultimate objective of providing affordable shelters that are decent and sustainable, effectively uplifting the lives of Filipinos, particularly the informal settler families and those in the low-income bracket.
Through the said program, the DHSUD aims to build one million housing units every year or a total of six million housing units within the six years of the current administration.
“This year’s celebration accurately encapsulates the goal of the DHSUD to provide affordable yet decent and sustainable shelters that will give Filipino families a sense of security and certitude. Hopefully, this goal will be reached by the end of the current administration,” said Housing Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar, who became head of the Department just this year.
The official rollout of the program has started in September with groundbreaking ceremonies in key cities and municipalities in the country, including Quezon City, Bacolod City, Roxas City, Iloilo City and Mariveles, Bataan. More agreement signing and groundbreaking ceremonies are in the pipeline in time for the NSM celebration.’
The whole month of October will be decked with a series of activities prepared by the DHSUD central and regional offices and its key shelter agencies (KSAs). At the forefront of such are the caravans, forums and learning sessions primarily designed to enlighten both the DHSUD body and the public of the financial elements and possibilities of the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program. Recreational activities will likewise be organized including Zumba sessions, office Olympics and tree-planting initiatives.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Henry Yap in his speech expressed gratitude toward partner organizations that have been assisting the DHSUD in fulfilling its mandate, particularly the United Nations Human Settlement Program or UN-Habitat, , whose “assistance in numerous Philippine projects such as the development of climate resilience urban plans and design studies, provincial climate risk diagnostics, and in rebuilding Marawi, reinforces their shared commitments toward establishing safe, resilient and sustainable communities.”
He then recognized UN-Habitat not only for participating in the kick-off event, but also for “jointly celebrating with us World Habitat Day and continuously creating awareness on the growing inequalities and challenges facing our settlements that are further exacerbated by the ‘3 Cs Crisis,’ namely, covid-19, climate change and conflicts.”
Ending the program, Bernard Barth, the human settlements officer of UN-Habitat’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific, expressed the organization’s support of the DHSUD’s goal to realize the Filipino family’s dream of owning a safe and sustainable home toward improving their quality of life.
Relatedly, the NSM coincides with Urban October, a month-long celebration that aims to raise awareness and engage the international community in discussing the challenges and opportunities created by the fast pace of change in cities.