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Philippine Real Estate News
Housing Bill pushed
By:  Tet Andolong
May 15, 2012

THE Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations Inc. (Creba) has long been an advocate of the Department of Housing Bill, which was filed in 1993 in Congress. The current Senate Committee on Housing, Urban Development and Resettlement led by Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has tirelessly deliberated upon the bill where the voice and participation of the business sector has been heard. No less than the Housing Czar, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, has openly acknowledged that the creation of the Housing Department is necessary to address the country’s long-term shelter needs.

Yet, unfortunately, to date, the DHUD Bill remains to be passed into law. The Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) has confirmed the staggering housing backlog of over 3.7 million units. Creba believes that addressing this problem should be a priority to reflect the country’s status as a growing economy; hence the urgent need to pass legislation that will benefit the underserved majority. “This statistic cannot just be ignored,” said Charlie Gorayeb, Creba national president. “Addressing the problem should be a priority to reflect the country’s status as a growing economy. [There is an] urgent need to pass legislation that will benefit the underserved majority. Creba has long been an advocate of the Department of Housing Bill, which we first championed in 1993. The bill was filed by the same personalities such as Rep. Rodolfo G. Valencia and Rep. Amado S. Bagatsing, who share our cause.

Unfortunately, it remains to be passed into law. Our representatives from Congress have always approved the bill, but the Senate has consistently deferred its approval,” Gorayeb explained. Gorayeb also shared that the latest version of the bill remains faithful to its first draft in 1993 and, essentially, the contentious issue here involves the status of the key shelter agencies (KSA) such as the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), the Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC).

According to the proposed housing bill, it states that the Act shall be known as the “Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Policy shall be the policy of the State to promote social advancement, economic growth and the well-being of the Filipino people by providing the greatest possible number of homeless Filipino families adequate opportunities for affordable and decent housing pursuant to the Constitutional mandate, and ensuring the sound development of the nation’s urban communities.

“The purpose of creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development is: a) To undertake a just and comprehensive solution to the perennial housing problem; b) To ensure the optimum utilization of land resources in improving the quality of life of the Filipino people; c) To stimulate private homebuilding activity to levels that will promote and sustain economic growth and development in terms of expanded opportunities for employment, business and government revenues; d) To promote the orderly development and growth of urban and urbanizing communities nationwide; e) To ensure full coordination of various national activities which impact on housing, land use and urban development; and f) To ensure that the needs and interests of the nation’s communities and of the people who live and work therein are accorded full consideration in the formulation of national and local development plans.”

The proposed bill also seeks to retain the corporate status of KSAs, their corporate boards as well as the members of their board of trustees. They will just be under the direct supervision and control of the Department Secretary. Each agency has its own funds generated from within. The government will not have to set aside budgets for them even if the Department of Housing Bill is passed into law. A separate housing department can also focus on a mandate of addressing issues on housing and environmental concerns. It can likewise prioritize the formulation of an effective and comprehensive national land-use plan, which is essential to the current rate of building construction and urbanization that the country is experiencing. “We fervently hope that under the Aquino administration, both Houses can finally pass this bill so that the housing backlog can be effectively addressed and finally achieve the nation’s collective goal of providing every Filipino family, not only with a roof over their heads, but a decent home to call their own,” Gorayeb added.