This is a story not even my kids knew. In 1978, we all lived in the family’s apartment in Pasay City. I got the idea to acquire a home. So I asked my mother for an idle lot in Imus, Cavite, which she inherited. It was a long shot but my mother said yes in a heartbeat. I transferred the lot title to my name. Then, I asked a childhood friend, who has become a famous architect, to do the construction plans for free. Armed with my lot title and building plans, I applied for a Social Security Service housing loan. The SSS interest rate was lower than any bank could offer.
|The 2 Bedroom Bungalow built on Php50K|
I was a 26 year old college dropout, with only 4 years of employment record. There was always a long line at the SSS loans department. Every step of the qualification process was discouraging but the challenge kept me going. Finally my loan application was approved for PHP 50K. The Admin guy said the formal loan approval notice will come in the mail. Then, he said the strangest thing to me:
“If you should run into some bad times, don’t worry about the loan payment. SSS will not foreclose any loan as long as you keep your SSS membership current you get to keep the house.”
I took what he said with a grain of salt. It was common knowledge that loans are to be paid religiously, otherwise you lose the collateral, in this case, the lot my mother gave me. Now fifty thousand seemed like a small amount but a bag of cement cost only PHP14. during that time. The contractor I got did not even ask me for any advance money. All they wanted was for me to sign over my loan proceeds from SSS when the construction was completed.
After we moved into our new 2 bedroom bungalow, to test what the SSS Admin guy said, I did not send the first month’s loan payment. I skipped the payments month to month while I waited for the collection letter. Then we really hit some hard times. My husband lost his job. I got pregnant with the third child. I forgot totally about the loan payments. I never got the collection letter just as the man in SSS said.
Eight long years later, EDSA Revolt happened. Cory Aquino rose to power. I received the SSS collection letter asking me to pay the entire amount of the loan. I had to sell my home to pay SSS back. The good thing was that the property has appreciated to PHP 300K by that time. I paid the 50K loan and took the 250K to relocate. It just occurred to me, after reading this article from http://www.jamesparmis.net/ that President Marcos was giving away homes via the SSS housing loans, sharing his ‘stolen’ wealth, 50K to each, who could come up with a lot to build on. His program fueled the housing construction boom that populated the new gated communities, from Paranaque to Las Pinas, all the way to Cavite in the south, Binangonan, Marikina and more parts of Rizal in the east, and Quezon City to Bulacan up north.
I was not a Marcos crony. Ironically, I was a pre-Martial Law student activist. This maybe 38 years too late. I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Marcos posthumously.