Turnover Ceremony (Assumption of office of Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo B. Cabling as SHFC President) 8 June 2017 SHFC, Makati City
Magandang umaga sa lahat ng mga empleyado ng Social Housing Finance Corporation!
Life is like this, it has many beginnings and many ends. We’ve all attended school and we know there’s always time for graduation; and we call graduation commencement exercises. So we always ask, why commencement; because there’s always a new beginning. And we are in the system of government, as amply stated, in a democracy, where leadership is not permanent. Others will be given a chance to lead and improve the society for the benefit of our people.
Celebrating accomplishments should be the highlight of commencement exercises. As presented in the Legacy Report, which shows the accomplishments of the previous administration, Social Housing Finance Corporation did very well in the last few years. In fact, in the Board Meeting yesterday, my first Board Meeting as your President, it was emphasized that we are having problems with our SEC registration and authorized capital declaration; because we only declared about a hundred million when Social Housing started as an institution. Now, we’re talking of billions.
When it was first created, the expectation was not that high but we surpassed that expectation and we were talking about increasing authorized capitalization to the tune of PhP3 billion; because SHFC now is providing housing for the underprivileged in the amount of no less than PhP3 billion.
Every year, we are providing housing for the underprivileged to the tune of PhP1 billion to PhP3 billion. So with that accomplishment, SHFC needs to be commended. Yesterday in the Board Meeting, I congratulated Ma’am Ana ad she said this was accomplished not because of her alone but through the support of all SHFC staff and officers. To all of you, congratulations! We will continue working in collaboration for the advocacy and for the calling for us to serve our underprivileged brothers and sisters, our kababayan, mga kapwa nating Pilipino.
I am not new to housing. I worked in the local level as City Councilor for nine years in the City of Davao. Before I became a City Councilor, I was working with an NGO on environmental protection and people’s participation in governance. When I was elected councilor, I handled the Committee on Environment for two years. In the management and protection of the environment, the approach is also like the one you’ve adopted.
Problems will not be solved if it will be done by an individual or small group of individuals alone. The approach should always be comprehensive and integrated, and more importantly, participatory. That was the approach that we are adopting in environmental protection programs, not just in Davao but the whole country and even in international undertakings I participated in environmental protections.
When I was transferred to housing and development in the City of Davao, I’ve worked with the NGOs and the same approach became very effective. It has to be participatory. Although, we’ll talk of policies later, there should be some review on our relationship with partners. Perhaps that’s one aspect of our program that we have to look into and further improve.
There’s something sacred and divine in this turnover ceremony being that I would say this is not just a simple responsibility that is being turned over to me. There is somehow a divine intervention and with that I would like to stress to all of you that indeed, our mission, our calling, is not just that simple; because we are supposed to address to the need of the poor constituents of our country. Not all of us are called to perform this mission. I hope you consider this seriously and you internalize this and always remember that there is something sacred and divine in what we are about to undertake.
There are many good things about SHFC but just like in all other undertakings there are also negative comments about us. One, we should improve our policies and our relationship with partners. We said everything has to be participatory. That’s the basic principle in our housing program. We need our partners. When we speak of participatory, the beneficiaries must always be heard, but I hear some feedbacks that some partners are no longer beneficiary-driven, are no longer underprivileged-driven, but landowner-driven. That’s one thing we have to look in to.
Second, the implementation of programs is so centralized and there is a need to decentralize. Why are we all here congested in Metro Manila? Let us talk about this and undertake a consultation on how we can improve our service and reach our brothers and sisters in Mindanao.
High Density Housing is very nice. Mas maganda ang projects natin. Kaya lang po, may mga negative feedbacks din. This is not validated but there were insinuations of money changing hands in the implementation of the project. There were also insinuations of favoritism of partners. I belong to the circle of the President, and the marching order is to stop bureaucratic red tape, stop corruption, stop bribery.
In our circle, no one has been spared. In the news, you’ve heard a former councilor of the city of Davao dismissed from office. I am happy I was tapped to head SHFC. But as I said, in the circle, there’s a marching order. Whether we like it or not, we have to impose it. As a friendly reminder, we are not here to enrich ourselves. We are here for a very important calling --- to serve. We are supposed to serve the underprivileged, the less fortunate.
When I was chairman of the Housing and Development Committee of the City of Davao, I came across a lot of investors who pass through my office. It is the most coveted position in the council. So almost every day, I was in the newspaper and the radio because they say that there’s so much money in the development committee. What I really can’t afford to do is ‘yung nanakawan natin ‘yung mahihirap. We have to give them what is due them.
One of the most controversial laws of our country is the balanced housing. Ano ‘yung balanced housing? ‘Yung mayayaman gumagawa ng pabahay para sa mayayaman, subalit sinasabi ng batas, i-balanse. ‘Yung 20% which they now reduced to 15% should also be done. Kumbaga, ‘yung pang-mayaman, gumawa rin kayo ng para sa mga mahihirap.
When I assumed the chairmanship of the committee in the City Council, I looked into that law and how it was being implemented. There was no clear policy, no clear guidelines. There was an IRR but it was constantly being mutated. They kept changing it and mutating it in favor of the rich, in favor of the developers. It’s like you can joint-venture with our own developers - you do socialized housing, I do high end housing. We do partnership and make your project my compliance, and another developer comes making his project his compliance, until ten developers are using a single project for their compliance. It’s a repetition. It’s only the city of Davao where we implemented the compliance of that law should be done where the project is being done. Before, they do that in the neighboring LGUs, anywhere.
So I had a compromise with the developers that they can do business in Davao but it has to be implemented in Davao and it has to be implemented strictly. For every lot generated, binebenta ninyo sa mayayaman kahit PhP5,000 na lang as compliance, i-deposit natin sa social housing trust fund of Davao City. In a year and a half, before leaving the Council, we were able to collect PhP65 million from that provision of the law, strictly and properly implemented. Kulang ‘yun. PhP5,000 is very small but we were struggling to have it implemented because other developers are lobbying for the mutation of the law here in Metro Manila.
And now we say, we from Mindanao, kami ‘yung biktima eh. Pasok ‘yung mga malalaking developers, papasok sa Davaon then nanakawan ‘yung mga mahihirap namin. Kami ‘yung biktima. Kaya ngayon, kami namang mga taga-Mindanao, we would like to tell you that we would be fair to all Filipinos. We would like to implement the law fairly for everyone. And again, we’ll make my statement my foremost policy: Hindi natin nanakawan ‘yung mahihirap. Tayo ay narito upang magsilbi sa mga nangangailangan.
Napakataas po ng aking sisimulan. Masyadong maraming naging proyekto at programa. I just hope and pray that I meet the expectations at ang mga dapat kong ipagpatuloy ay akin pong magagampanan sa mga darating pang araw sa tulong po ninyong lahat. Sabay-sabay tayong lahat na manalangin na sana nga ‘yung panawagan ay magagampanan natin para sa ating mga kababayan na matagal na pong naghihirap at nangangailangan ng ating tulong.
Maraming salamat for your warm welcome and I hope to be able to work with you in the next few days. Maraming salamat at magandang umaga sa lahat!