SENATE APPROVES HOUSING DEPARTMENT BILL
Posted: July 30th, 2012 @ 1:41am
Senate approves on third and final reading today a consolidated bill creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) to ensure decent housing for millions of poor Filipinos without decent homes, also referred to as informal settler families (ISFs).
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, one of the authors of Senate Bill 3199, said, “Article 13, Section 9 of our Constitution declares that ‘the State… shall... undertake a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas.”
“However, despite this noble Constitutional provision as well as the corresponding enactment of Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, we are still facing a worsening problem of urban blight and homelessness in the country. At present, we have an estimated housing backlog of around three to four million housing units,” he lamented.
“But worse,” he added, “as we face a huge housing backlog, it is ironic that there are government housing units that remain unoccupied to this day. While many of our poor countrymen continue to suffer homelessness, we have thousands of housing units lying idle. These idle government assets were acquired with the people's money and represent wastage of scarce government resources.”
Based on the bill, the DHUD shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing and urban development. It shall be the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for all housing and urban development concerns, primarily focusing on the access to and affordability of the basic human needs.
The bill consolidates into the DHUD the functions of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the planning and regulatory functions of the Housing and
Land Regulatory Board (HLRB).
Included in the DHUD’s specific functions are the following:
• formulate the national and urban development and housing policy and strategy;
• assume a lead role in coordinating, supervising and integrating all government activities relative to housing and urban development;
• manage and oversee the development of proclaimed housing sites;
• provide assistance to build the capability of local government units in housing and urban development especially in partnership with communities, civil society organizations, non-government organizations, and private groups; and
• monitor local government compliance with housing and urban development laws, standards and guidelines.
Among the priority beneficiaries of DHUD’s initiatives shall be ISFs located in declared danger areas as well as those in areas to be used for government infrastructure projects and in other government/public lands or facilities not intended for habitation.
Estrada explained that housing and urban development should mean, among others, the establishment of residential quality of life, including the provision of houses; utilities; access to livelihood opportunities, social services and other community facilities; security; and other aspects related to an individual's residence.
“The proposed DHUD is expected to contribute in realizing a modern, humane, economically
viable and environmentally sustainable society, where urban areas have affordable housing, sustainable physical and social infrastructure and services, and where such urban areas provide the opportunities for an improved quality of life and the eradication of poverty,” he underscored.