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NHA asked to use power to grant amnesty for socialized housing loans

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez yesterday called on the National Housing Authority (NHA) to gIve thousands of urban poor housing recipients a fresh start for 2018 by reviving the socialized housing loan restructuring and amnesty program it had implemented ten years ago.
Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Poor Development, said the NHA is empowered under the law to make it easier for the country’s low- and middle-income families to own houses.
Benitez has filed House Resolution No. 1511 strongly recommending amnesty on all penalties and surcharges in unpaid loan amortizations for beneficiaries of NHA socialized housing projects.
At the same time, Benitez urged NHA to institute a loan restructuring program that will guarantee effective results of the amnesty proposal.
“Many beneficiaries of NHA’s socialized housing projects have reneged on their payments citing low incomes due to lack of livelihood and employment in off-city relocation sites,” Benitez explained.
He warned that unless socialized housing beneficiaries are condoned from payment of penalties and surcharges on unpaid loans, majority of them will only sink deeper into debt and face the danger of being evicted.
“Demonstrating leniency and generosity not only gives our financially challenged socialized housing recipients fresh hopes of keeping their units. It also helps address the worsening housing problem,” said Benitez.
The senior administration lawmaker noted that under Republic Act 9507, the NHA has the authority to restructure housing loans and condone all penalties and surcharges from unpaid monthly amortization on socialized housing loans.
“Sec. 4 of RA No. 9507 authorizes the governing boards of government financial institutions involved in housing, the NHA included, to continue the condonation and loan restructuring program beyond the period prescribed by said Act,” Benitez pointed out,.
Signed into law on October 13, 2008, RA 9507 or the Socialized and Low Cost Housing Loan Restructuring of 2008 covers for loan restructuring and condonation of penalties and surcharges on all housing loans with unpaid amortization of at least three months and over.
The law provides an 18 month window for borrowers to avail of the program.
However, RA 9507 also authorized agencies to continue the loan and restructuring program beyond the 18 month effectivity.
“Various organizations representing beneficiaries of NHA housing projects have sought the reinstitution of said program to unburden them with the penalties that have doubled their financial obligations and to give them a fresh start in paying the principal loan amount,” Benitez stated. 

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