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Marking one year in office, Vice President Binay cites gains, plans

Expect Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also the administration’s housing czar, to continue to push for transparency and greater efficiency in the government’s housing programs.

In a statement to mark his first year in office, Binay on Sunday said he had undertaken a “series of initiatives meant to bring transparency and greater efficiency in the government’s housing programs.”

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As chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Binay said they had “already instituted reforms to redirect and fine-tune the strategies” of the HUDCC-attached agencies.

“These reforms will enable the shelter agencies to work more efficiently and systematically to address the challenges in the housing sector. The past 12 months have also seen a number of housing policies and programs that have benefited our countrymen, particularly our soldiers and policemen,” he said.

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HUDCC groups together the Home Mutual Development Fund (or Pag-IBIG Fund), National Housing Authority, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Home Guaranty Corp., National Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp. and the Social Housing Finance Corp.

On his zero-tolerance for corruption thrust, Binay cited the filing of syndicated estafa charges against real estate firm Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp.

An inquiry conducted by the Office of the Vice President had uncovered alleged irregularities in the firm’s P6.6-billion loan from Pag-IBIG Fund, as well as the “double sale of housing units.”

“Property developers welcomed the move, saying it restored confidence in government and sent out an important signal that the OVP is not disposed to giving special treatment to anyone,” said Binay.

Between July 2010 and May this year, the government’s key shelter agencies provided housing to at least 85,187 families nationwide, according to Binay.

Binay, who is also Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, has also vowed to come up with a “multiagency response” to the problems of OFWs worldwide.

In his second year in office, Binay said he plans to intensify the government’s drive against human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

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Binay said he has been “actively working to protect the welfare of Filipinos working abroad.”

He recalled that during his official visit to Saudi Arabia in March, he was able to obtain the cooperation of Saudi authorities to facilitate the repatriation of some 4,500 overstaying OFWs in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Last month, the final batch of 790 OFWs stranded at the Hajj Seaport Terminal in Jeddah finally returned to the Philippines, his office said.

“To date, the Vice President has welcomed a total of 12,580 repatriated OFWs from all over the world,” it also said.

Binay, meanwhile, has given President Aquino a performance rating of “9 out of 10,” adding that comparisons of their recent survey ratings were unfair to the President.

“If you ask me how I am going to rate him, bibigyan ko siya ng 9 out of 10—9 kasi wala namang perfect sa trabaho,” Binay said in a statement.

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TAGS: Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), housing czar, Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, repatriation, Saudi Arabia, Vice President Jejomar Binay
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