President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is set to sign an executive order (EO) reserving idle government lands for housing projects.

In a press release issued Monday, Malacañang said the EO will implement Section 24 of Republic Act No. (RA) 11201, which mandates several government agencies to jointly identify idle state lands suitable for housing and rural development.

Under RA 11201, an inventory will be conducted by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to identify these lands, estimated to be more than 16,000 hectares, to be used for socialized housing.

Marcos said the EO “will not create new regulations but will just enforce the existing law.”

According to the President, putting all these government assets will “ensure flexibility in deciding which of these lands should be used for housing.”

Marcos is set to meet with banks and financial institutions to assist the DHSUD in realizing its goal of building 1 million housing units per year or 6 million by the end of his term.

RA 11201 gives the housing agency power to take and administer government lands that have been idle for 10 years or more and use these for urban development.

Under RA 11201, the housing department is empowered to own and administer government-owned lands that have not been utilized for the purpose they have been originally reserved or acquired for at least 10 years and identified as suitable for urban development.

DSHUD Secretary Jose Acuzar earlier told the President that it had acquired the commitment of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to the government’s housing program.

In late October, Marcos called on government financial institutions and private banks to assist government efforts to address the country’s housing backlog of more than 6.5 million.

He said giving incentives to private entities would further encourage them to take part in the building and financing aspects to support the housing program.

Representatives from BDO, Metrobank, Union Bank, Ayala Corporation, and China Bank, likewise, expressed support for the housing program and committed to help in the crafting of a financing system to carry it out. (PNA)