A NEW department focused on housing and resettlement issues will soon be formed.
This is according to Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, as he expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law Republic Act 11201 or an Act creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development and one of the principal authors of the housing department bill, said it is time to resolve issues on housing.
“I am thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval of the Department of Human Settlements ad Urban Development bill. This law shall allow for a unified direction and consolidated efforts toward shelter delivery for our fellow Filipinos,” Benitez said.
Benitez, also lauded the support of his colleagues in the Philippine Congress in passing the measure. The Department of Housing was filed in the 9th Congress yet.
“It was only the 17th Congress when this bill really gained traction because this was included in the priority measures of the president.
According to Benitez the bill was changed from the Department of Housing into Human Settlements to capture the need for a shift in how the government views shelter delivery.
Instead of just building houses, the government shelter programs should also consider access to basic needs such as livelihood, transportation, education and health, he added.
RA 11201 also mandates the new Department to develop and implement an urban renewal program that includes the identification of idle government lands that will be used as in-city housing sites.
“The failure of past government housing programs is the focus on relocating informal settlers in remote areas with no access to income and basic services. We should maximize government lands that have been idle for years and use it for Filipino families who need housing that are close to their source of income,” Benitez stressed.
The government is optimistic that the enactment of the Department of Human Settlements is a step towards the realization of providing affordable homes to the Filipino families.