BACOLOD CITY – The city government here has tapped the Cainta, Rizal-based consortium of WRS Holdings Inc. and Scheirman Construction Consolidated Inc. (SCCI) to invest PHP2 billion for the development of up to 20,000 housing units in identified locations under a public-private partnership (PPP).

Bacolod, the first local government unit in the country to implement the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program, entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with the Scheirman Consortium in rites held at the Government Center lobby on Tuesday night.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and William Russell Scheirman Jr., president and chief executive officer of SCCI, signed the agreement “for the financing, design, construction, operation and development of a mixed-used integrated infrastructure for housing and sustainable community in Bacolod City.”

“We will be the first. We will be a model, we will be a prototype on how to execute the housing program of the national government. We’re very, very happy. At least, it is not just a signing memorandum of understanding. We can now show the actual units, already built,” the mayor told reporters.

Benitez said he hopes to see the completion of an initial number of housing units in time for the State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in July.

Under the JVA, the constitution of the buildings shall be undertaken by the Scheirman consortium “at no cost” to the city government and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

For its part, the city government will provide the land upon which the human settlement/housing units will be built.

With a commitment of PHP2-billion funding support, the private proponent will build human settlements/housing units mainly for informal settler families (ISFs) in two sets of 10,000 units each.

The first set of Yuhum housing units, numbering 10,000, will include 3,000 units at the city relocation site in Barangay Vista Alegre and 7,000 units on another city-owned property at Bredco, Reclamation Area.

The commitment to build another set of 10,000 units will proceed once additional land is provided by the city government, the agreement stated.

Each human settlement will be a mix of housing units, commercial spaces and open spaces, and from the revenues of commercial spaces, the city government will get a share of 10 percent.

The program’s primary target beneficiaries are ISFs with gross earnings based on minimum wage, or some PHP12,000 a month, with still respectable take-home pay before deduction of the computed housing loan amortization, provided they are or will become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund.

The market price of each 24- to 27-square-meter unit is pegged at PHP1.2 million to PHP1.3 million compared to at least PHP3.8 million per unit offered in a condominium development near the site to be developed by the consortium.

As support of the national government, the DSHUD will provide subsidies to ISFs qualified to take out housing loans from Pag-IBIG.

Councilor Vladimir Gonzales, chairman of the City Council’s committee on urban poor, housing resettlement, said since the city government is providing the land under a usufruct arrangement, the price consideration is limited to the structure itself.

“It becomes affordable, plus the subsidy of the national government which is roughly PHP3,000 for the monthly amortization,” he added. (PNA)