Social Housing Finance Corporation
President's Corner
30th Anniversary of Community Mortgage Program
1 August 2018
SHFC, Makati City

For 30 years now, the Community Mortgage Program or CMP has been fulfilling the dreams of low-income families to have their own homes. It has been building empowered communities so they could become major contributors to our nationís progress. Established two years after the People Power Revolution, the CMP harnessed the ability of communities to provide themselves housing. This community-driven approach has become a model emulated throughout the world. However, the challenges remain and the CMP must continue to grow and reinvent itself and evolve into better shelter programs.

The CMP is a well-loved government institution among the poor and development workers. Much of its good reputation it owes to the guiding principles on which it was founded: first among which is that housing is a right; second, housing entails building homes and communities, not just houses; and third, housing must be adequate, livable, affordable, inclusive and community-driven.

These principles have remained the cornerstone of the CMP throughout the past three decades. It has enabled us to assist over 300,000 families through over 14 billion pesos worth of loan assistance. We are very proud of these achievements; especially because for us - the hard working men and women of SHFC - we see actual faces behind these numbers, of poor families we have actually met and work with; men and women, young and old, who have thanked us for our assistance. And that inspires us to do more.

Indeed, we have been doing more and introducing trailblazing housing concepts such as culturally sensitive housing for peacebuilding, which we started in Zamboanga after the siege and which we are doing now in Marawi. We are also introducing farmlot housing, which aims to encourage rural families to stay in their communities by providing housing with agricultural livelihood. We have also added vertical housing to our program as a solution to the scarcity of land in highly urbanized areas and we are making our shelter solutions flexible to the needs of the community.

In terms of our guiding principles, we can now add one more to the three mentioned earlier, and that is: partnerships are indispensable especially with the local government units or LGUs. That has been our most recent thrust, which we have found to be very effective. We discovered that there are many LGUs who are very eager to work with us in finding solutions to the homelessness in their locality.

There are several advantages to working with LGUs. First, they know the local conditions and problems very well. In most cases, they have already identified the communities who need assistance. Second, they are willing to share their resources with us: be it land, equipment and even personnel. Third, LGUs can help facilitate the procurement of permits and thus speed up the completion of projects. And finally, working with them does away with the corrupt practices that we have uncovered in several projects that were previously initiated by pseudo-mobilizers who acted as developers who only desired profit.

Indeed, because of our anti-corruption drive, the road to where we are now has not been easy. We have to set up safeguards to ensure that our beneficiaries will not be put to a disadvantage. After all, one of our guiding principles is to make housing affordable. But with corruption, housing becomes more expensive. It is the poor who will bear that burden. Sadly, this drive to clean up our program has been met with resistance and some groups are out to frustrate our efforts by cleverly turning the table against us. But that is not unexpected, and it will not stop us from continuing our efforts to fight irregularities. Our genuine desire to champion our pro-poor mandate keeps our spirits afloat in bad times.

And so the challenge continues. We have to keep up with the increasing demand for safe, resilient, and sustainable housing solutions. We have to continue finding ways to expand our programs to reach untapped markets. And more importantly, we need to strengthen the capability of our employees to drive our purpose.

The success of CMP would not have been possible without the support of partners who never fail to share their talents and resources to the noble cause of housing the poor. We know that the 30 years of CMP is not about SHFC. The 30 years is about the thousands of families who now know what it is like to own a home, one that they can pass on to the next generation.

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