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Joining forces in promoting housing, urban development

Article XIII, Section 9 of the Constitution empowers the State to undertake a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas.

Nevertheless, in its study, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) found that housing backlog accounts for 3.9. million households. Even producing an average of 200,000 units every year from 2012 to 2030 will not eliminate this backlog and hit 6.5 million households by 2030. In this regard, the highest demand would come from the economic housing segment, followed by socialized housing and low-cost housing.

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In addressing this concern, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Executive Order (EO) creating the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission, more popularly known as Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). It was authorized to, among others: (a) promulgate zoning and other land use control standards and guidelines which shall govern land use plans and zoning ordinances of local government units (LGU); and (b) review, evaluate and approve or disapprove comprehensive land use development plans and zoning component of subdivisions, condominiums or estate development projects, including industrial estates, of both public and private sectors and urban renewal plans, programs, and objects.

Thereafter, then President Corazon Aquino issued EO No. 90, creating the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). It was primarily charged with coordinating the activities of government housing agencies to ensure the accomplishment of the National Shelter Program, which aimed to provide increased levels of nationwide housing assistance in urbanized areas.

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The current administration, however, saw the need to streamline HLURB and HUDCC’s activities when it enacted the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Act in July 23, 2018. Under the Act, DHSUD shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlement and urban development.

It shall likewise ensure the alignment of the policies, programs and projects of all its attached agencies, including: (a) National Housing Authority; (b) National Home Mortgage Financing Corporation; (c) Home Development Mutual Fund; and (d) Social Housing Finance Corporation.

Unlike with HUDCC and HLURB, DHSUD’s functions were expanded to include: (a) policy development, coordination, monitoring and evaluation; (b) environmental, land use and urban planning and development; (c) housing and real estate development regulation; (d) homeowners association and community development; and (e) general powers as specified in the Act.

Thus, DHSUD is authorized to develop and implement programs, in coordination with concerned agencies, that will initiate and promote the establishment of estate and new towns, new settlements, urban renewal programs, and prototypes of housing and urban development interventions.

Likewise, it will manage and oversee the development of proclaimed socialized and economic housing sites, including the use of these land assets as resource mobilization strategy to raise alternative resources in developing new housing projects and efficient housing programs, either by itself or through its attached agencies.

Meanwhile, Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC) shall take over HLURB’s adjudicatory function. In this regard, HSRC may: (a) exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by regional adjudicators relating to subdivisions, condominiums, memorial parks and similar real estate developments, and homeowners associations, and appeals from decisions of local and regional planning and zoning bodies; (b) conduct hearings; (c) administer oaths; (d) summon the parties to a controversy; (e) issue subpoenae duces tecum or ad testificandum; (f) hold any person in contempt directly or indirectly and impose appropriate penalties as specified in the Act; and (g) issue orders of temporary or permanent injunction after due notice and hearing.

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