Developers laud bill creating the housing department
After nearly three decades of numerous attempts, the House of Representatives ratified last week the bicameral conference committee report on a bill that seeks to create the Department of Housing Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).
This new department will be tasked to address the country’s huge housing backlog—estimated at close to 6 million units—and to focus on building communities and habitats in both rural and urban areas.
“After years of uncertainty, the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association, Inc. (SHDA) considers this development a milestone in the history of this country’s housing industry. Its subsequent enactment into law paves the way for the creation of a single policy-making, program development and regulatory body, which will be responsible for the management of housing, human settlements and urban development nationwide, a dream come true for all housing industry players,” said SHDA national president Jeffrey Ng.
The bill related to the creation of a housing department was first deliberated on in 1994.
Principal authors and sponsors, Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, explained that the DHSUD will be headed by a secretary who will be appointed by the President as member of the Cabinet. There will also be three undersecretaries and three assistant secretaries to be appointed.
Functions and powers
Once established, the DHSUD will be tasked to rationalize and coordinate the functions and powers of various housing agencies of the state.
Merging the functions of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the DHSUD will also be attaching to itself the following key shelter agencies: National Housing Authority; Home Guarantee Corp., National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund and Social Housing Finance Corp.
Under the bill, the DHSUD will be composed of the Office of the Secretary and the Bureaus of Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation; Environmental, Land Use, and Urban Planning and Development; Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation; and the Homeowners Association and Community Development.
The new department will be tasked to develop and adopt a national strategy to immediately address the provision of adequate and affordable housing for all Filipinos, and shall ensure alignment of all the policies, programs and projects of all its attached agencies to facilitate the achievement of this objective.
Meanwhile, SHDA chair Willie Uy shared that its more than 200 members are grateful to the lawmakers who have supported the bill and to the President for also including this measure in his priority bills for the 17th Congress.
Uy said: “We are very fortunate that the administration recognizes the importance of providing decent and affordable shelters to our fellow Filipinos. Indeed, the ultimate goal of DHSUD’s creation is to provide every Filipino family a decent and affordable house at the soonest possible time. We are all support to this initiative as housing crisis in the country is huge and growing continuously.”
To address the backlog, it is estimated that 774,441 housing units will be needed this year; 788,773 units in 2019; 803,405 in 2020; 818,363 in 2021; and another 833,619 units in 2022.
Ng shared that DHSUD, as Ejercito and Benitez explained, will also develop and implement urban renewal programs, own and administer government idle lands that are suitable for housing, identify lands that may be used for socialized housing sites, planning and establishment of government centers as well as new townships in urban centers.
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