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PIA Press Release

Duterte wants moratorium on NHMFC foreclosures

by Romy Sabaldan

Davao City (14 November) -- Warning against a possible backlash on the inroads of peace obtaining in the city, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte Wednesday called for a moratorium on the foreclosure orders undertaken by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) and its legal and cash collection agencies Balikatan Housing Finance Incorporated and Bahay Financial Services.

"We do not want these foreclosure orders undertaken by NHMFC-Balikatan to turn into a bloody confrontation among those involved and the agitated homeowners," Duterte said of what he called a brewing social problem brought about by the crisis in housing.

Duterte made the call for a moratorium even as the newly-inducted officers and board members of the Davao City Federation of Homeowners Associations (DCFHA) vowed to organize barricades and crisis intervention against any attempt to evict its members out of the houses they have been occupying for years.

Richy Nalagon, president of DCFHA, said all members are willing to pay but not on the spot cash payments imposed by NHMFC-Balikatan but based on the original intent of the contract of community mortgage program which is through amortizations by regular installments.

In fact, most of the homeowners have already paid fifty to eighty percent or more of the actual cost of the original loan amount, he said.

"What the NHMFC and its chosen entity the foreign-owned Balikatan is doing is to siphon off whatever available money of the already cash-strapped homeowners. Why is the rush in collecting cash from homeowners?" Nalagon inquired.

"They want big amount of cash from homeowners who have long been burdened with indebtedness on the money they use to repair the dilapidated houses in their early stages due to very low quality of materials and substandard construction methods employed by corrupt housing contractors in cahoots with corrupt government housing agencies?" Nalagon asked.

"One example of the injustices committed against the homeowners," he said, "is the case of an elderly woman named Elomina Roluna who made a loan from a loan shark amounting to P100-T out of desperation to give in to the prodding of the so-called 'account specialists' of the Davao-based Bahay Financial Services (BFS), a subsidiary of NHMFC-Balikatan."

Roluna made the payment of P100-T and duly receipted and dated February 4, 2008 by Bahay Financial Services only to receive a notice of foreclosure order seven months later.

Roluna's case and woeful condition have caught the ire of Mayor Duterte, who bids for more time, saying he will carefully study the situation. "I will also look into the supposed socialized housing clause of the housing program," the city mayor promised.

Duterte said a moratorium is in order to buy peace as the moves undertaken by NHMFC-Balikatan is getting out of bounds from the original intention of low-cost housing and homes for the homeless. (PIA XI) [top]

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