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PIDS Updates
Thursday / 11 DECEMBER 2014
IN FOCUS: Housing and inclusive growth

Decent living spaces are a critical issue among the poor especially in urban areas. Many of them resort to informal or illegal housing, living in shanties, occupying other people’s land, or squatting in the most unsanitary places unimaginable such as riverbanks, streets, and bridges.

Inequalities in shelter deprivation and access to basic services are most evident particularly in cities where wealth and poverty exist in close proximity. Metro Manila alone is home to more than 4 million slum dwellers threatened by adverse congestion, substandard housing, and deteriorating environment. They suffer from various sickness due to their location and the limited infrastructure available. Effective town and shelter planning and urban infrastructure for people in underserved areas and informal settlements are thus critical first steps to their development.

Relocating informal settlers and victims of natural and human-induced disasters to safer areas is a critical challenge in the housing sector. The adverse impacts of climate change has made the relocation of families living in danger zones more urgent. Natural disasters also induce further relocation to cities, which can increase informal settlements.

The government through the National Housing Authority (NHA) has implemented resettlement projects since the 1970s as a major housing program for the low-income sector. An evaluation of the NHA resettlement programs between 2003 and 2011 conducted by PIDS senior research fellow Marife Ballesteros and senior research specialist Jasmine Egana showed that in-city projects, despite their higher costs compared to off-city projects, are more cost effective. In-city housing has higher long-term benefits given better chances of finding employment and more income-generating opportunities. The availability of land for relocation projects, however, is a crucial problem. For resettlement programs to be effective, land for socialized housing has to be made available by local governments or the national government especially in urban areas like Metro Manila. The authors also emphasized the need to study the feasibility of vertical development in in-city housing and for the NHA to improve the production process for incremental housing.

In 2011, the government released PHP 50 billion to the newly formed National Informal Settlement Upgrading System Program for informal settlers living in perilous areas in Metro Manila. Two years later, two major policy reforms were adopted due to the slow pace of its implementation. First is the NHA Enhanced Resettlement Package that increases the maximum cost of socialized housing units for off-city and in-city resettlements in order to build bigger and more disaster-resilient houses.

Second is the expansion of the financing program of the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation to include high-density housing (HDH). The HDH addresses the problem of limited land for socialized housing in urban areas by accommodating more families per unit of land which also promotes building of better houses and improved access to basic facilities and infrastructure.

Despite these policy changes, the overall policy intervention remains wanting. Ballesteros sums us an important shortcoming that needs to be addressed: “The Philippines lacks a national policy on shelter development that integrates infrastructure, housing, and environmental concerns. The current approach to shelter is primarily on a per project basis instead of a city-wide shelter development. The absence of a city-wide approach creates difficulties for the national government and LGUs to address the housing problem on scale.”

To know more about PIDS research on housing and inclusive growth, visit the SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines. Simply type “housing”, “inclusive growth”, “housing policies”, “poverty”, “rent control”, “housing” and urban development” “land administration" and related terms in the Search box.

  1. Economic Policy Monitor 2013: Addressing the Jobs Challenge toward Inclusive Growth
  2. The State of Philippine Housing Programs - A Critical Look at How Philippine Housing Subsidies Work
  3. Land Issues in Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Development Agenda: Philippines
  4. Housing policy for the poor: revisiting UDHA and CISFA
  5. Fiscal costs of subsidies for socialized housing programs: an update
  6. Benefits (and Losses) from Rent Control in the Philippines: An Empirical Study of Metro Manila
  7. Community-based approaches toward upgrading of informal settlements: Alternative strategies and recommendations for policymaking
  8. The Dynamics of Housing Demand in the Philippines: Income and Lifecycle Effects
  9. Rent control in Metro Manila
  10. Housing Subsidies: A Closer Look at the Issues

SERP-P or SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines is an online knowledge repository of socioeconomic materials produced by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and other government agencies, academic and research institutions, and development organizations comprising the SERP-P Network.


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10 December 2014
3rd SERP-P Members' Biennial Meeting
C.P. Romulo Hall, NEDA sa Makati Bldg., Amorsolo Street, Makati City

10 December 2014
Pulong saliksikan on poverty impacts of changes in the price of agricultural commodities: recent evidence for Argentina (an ex-ante analysis)
Room 208, NEDA sa Makati Bldg., Amorsolo Street, Makati City

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The National Volunteer Month (NVM) is celebrated every December to build nationwide public awareness and appreciation of volunteerism, create the environment for voluntary action and recognize volunteers as partners in development.

The NVM theme for this year is “Volunteering for the Environment” in support of the Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability.

The lead agency for the NVM is the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority.

You can join the celebration of NVM in a number of ways. Click here for details.



The Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) aims to ensure that funding requirements for the development needs of municipalities and cities are included in agency budget proposals. It promotes inclusive participation in community development by empowering civil society organizations (CSOs) to be engaged in the budgeting process. This Policy Note presents the results of a process assessment of the BUB in Quezon Province. It was part of a bigger study, commissioned by the Department of Budget and Management to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, which covered 12 municipalities and cities in four provinces representing Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The two main components of the BUB process are the CSO assembly and the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan workshop. To encourage participation of the CSOs in the assembly and workshop, the study recommends CSOs to be informed well in advance by sending them invitations ahead of time and giving them ample time to consult with their members and prepare for the BUB activities. CSOs should also be capacitated on leadership skills, project proposal development, monitoring, and getting accreditation to be better equipped in engaging with the LGUs and other CSOs.

Click here for the full article

Hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 provides an opportunity for the Philippines to advance its economic interests in services trade and contribute to regional integration by highlighting the critical importance of global value chains (GVCs). An output of a research project on APEC 2015 commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, this Policy Note looks at the GVC phenomenon and presents a measure of GVC participation at the aggregate level. It discusses the role of services in GVCs and proposes that further analytical work on services value chains in the Asia-Pacific region be undertaken. This will contribute to a better understanding of how individual economies can maximize GVC participation and how APEC can create the appropriate policy environment conducive to the growth of services value chains.

Click here for the full article

The 21-member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have different levels of economic development and, in turn, differentiated stages of human resource development. Given this asymmetry, the benefits of complementation and learning from the experiences of economies that have achieved a certain degree of inclusive growth are worth exploring. This initiative can provide avenues for addressing the development gaps within the Asia-Pacific region, which can contribute to achieving inclusive growth. This Policy Note is an output of a research project on APEC 2015 commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. It discusses the linkages between human resource development and inclusive growth. It also provides policy recommendations on possible cooperative measures in human resource development for APEC member-economies.

Click here for the full article


This paper suggests that the ASEAN economic integration can be viewed as an opportunity for brain gain for the ASEAN member-countries. The envisaged ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) may boost both South-South and North-South movements of skilled labor as a result of the growth of cross-border education, increased mobility of professional workers with the implementation of the mutual recognition arrangements, and the possible return migration of expatriate professionals to the ASEAN region given a vibrant regional economy in the long run that can provide more competitive remuneration packages. In turn, these will facilitate knowledge exchanges and collaborations, technology transfers, economic and business linkages, investment flows, and increased remittances. However, the more advanced economies in the region will have an edge in exploiting these opportunities in the initial years of the AEC. The ASEAN integration can be a double-edged sword for member-countries that may not be able to improve their competitiveness in the long run.

Click here for the full article


imageCHED, DSWD should review selection process for tertiary scholarship program for the poor

Granting financial aid to poor but deserving students to enroll in college is not enough. Government must help ensure these grantees finish their education through a proper selection process.

These were the recommendations presented by the latest study released by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).



imageStepping up and Toning Down " Different Dosage of Competition for Sectoral Benefits

"With the Quantitative Restriction (QR) on import of rice, expected to be abolished in July, 2017, in the Philippines, it is a need of the hour to work out an interim strategy to build the capacity of domestic farmers and other actors to face international competition," claimed Dr. Roehlano Briones, Senior Fellow, Philippine Institute for Development Studies in the third National Reference Group meeting held under the CREW project in Manila, Philippines on 30 October, 2014.




Study finds serious technical problems in NIA`s irrigation projects

A study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has identified some serious technical problems and issues in the country's irrigation systems that need to be resolved immediately.



Philippine Stock Exchange Index


The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) ended at 7,215.73 for the month of October. This is lower compared to last September's 7,283.07.

Source: Philippine Stock Exchange

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on Philippine Stock Exchange Index.

Exchange Rate


The average peso-dollar exchange rate further went up to 44.7979 in October, from 44.0751 in September. This is higher compared to 43.1825 in the same period last year. The highest monthly average rate for 2014 remains to be that in January at 44.9270.

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on monthly average peso-dollar exchange rate


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