Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Tuesday unveiled a strategy to upgrade urban slums and spur mass housing projects during the 2011 Asian Urban Forum at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Ortigas Center, Pasig.

Speaking before some 200 participants, Binay, the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), revealed the development of a National Slum Upgrading Strategy (NSUS).

“Both the national and local governments will now undertake the relevant policies and programs for slum upgrading, under the guidelines provided by that strategy,” Binay said.

The Vice President said the strategy aims to provide support for a national government resettlement policy and updating the national urban development and housing framework.

He said that that strategy has already been approved by Cities Alliance, a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to scaling up approaches to poverty reduction. The alliance provides grants in support of cities development strategies, citywide and nationwide slum upgrading activities, sustainable financing strategies to attract funding for infrastructure, and knowledge sharing activities.

“The NSUS project shall run for 18 months. We expect its implementation to attract investments in real estate development and housing, among others, which in turn will spur employment and contribute to the area’s development,” he said.

The housing czar also said that they hope to accelerate mass housing using alternative housing technologies to ensure decent and affordable homes.

“It is indispensable that environmental management and disaster risk mitigation standards be now developed and implemented in the construction of housing units,” he said.

“These include the use of indigenous and recyclable materials as environmentally-friendly alternatives in order to reduce construction costs. The resulting applications and demand shall fuel new industries and increase employment generation, as a secondary benefit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Binay said that all plans and costings of government infrastructure projects will now include the relocation and resettlement requirements of all affected families.

“A financing framework for relocation and resettlement shall include workable public-private partnership or what we call PPP schemes for socialized housing development,” he said.

The Vice President also said that President Benigno Aquino III and leaders of the House of Representatives have already agreed to prioritize the proposed creation of a Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD).

Binay said this will “rationalize and promote the efficient management and development of land resources and enhance the coordination and integration of government plans, programs and projects in housing and urban development.”

The Asian Urban Forum is a three-day seminar organized by the ADB that aims to “increase insight in financing mechanisms currently available to promote green, competitive and inclusive cities.”