‘Expedite land titles for poor’

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has urged expediting the process of granting land titles to beneficiaries of urban poor housing that started during her presidency.

Arroyo, a former President, stressed this during last Friday’s oversight hearing of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez.

Panel members convened to look into several Presidential Proclamations on social housing issued by Arroyo during her administration to ensure that the housing projects move forward at the soonest possible time.

The panel continued with its deliberations on House Resolution (HR) No. 2067, which seeks to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the implementation of Proclamation No. 627, s. 2004.

The Proclamation declared a two-hectare land within Barangay Comembo in Makati City as off-base housing for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Director Jeanette Cruz of the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council (HUDCC) explained that the National Housing Authority (NHA) was not able to fully exercise their administration over the area because of a special patent that was still not provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR).

Florencio Chavez, Land Management Officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) National Capital Region, however said that this could be resolved by a simple letter from the NHA requesting the special patent from their agency. Upon receiving the request, the special patent may be available in a month, according to Chavez.

Meanwhile, Benitez directed Brigadier General Arnold Fernandez of the AFP to submit the list of qualified beneficiaries to the NHA to ensure that all 295 of them will receive the land titles.

Benitez recommended for the HUDCC and NHA to allow the AFP to administer the land title distribution to the qualified occupants of the property, to which the concerned agencies agreed.

“Whether you give it to whoever is there, that is your lookout. It is designed for your members, for soldiers, for your colleagues. So kung anuman ang gawin ninyo, magre-reflect sa inyo yun. And in this case, NHA and HUDCC will just secure the titles, pass it sa inyo, then the lookout will now be on your shoulder,” said Benitez.

Cruz said that the inter-agency committee will need to convene to discuss pricing. The meeting was scheduled on May 28, 2019.

Arroyo stressed that pricing on socialized housing sites should be based on the zonal value of the area during the issuance of the proclamations.

Aside from Proclamation No. 627, the committee also reviewed the status of implementation of the following: (a) Executive No. 48, s. 2001, declaring non-core properties of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) as socialized housing sites; (b) Proclamation No. 391, s. 2003, declaring an area in Barrio Balagbag and Maricban in Pasay City open for disposition to qualified applicants; (c) Proclamation No. 397, s. 2003, reserving the Tala Estate in Caloocan City for socialized housing; and (d) Proclamation No. 1193, s. 2006, reserving a land in Sta. Ana, Manila for relocation site.

As a result of the hearing, the roadblocks that had prevented thousands of urban poor housing beneficiaries from receiving their land titles had been addressed and resolved by the homeowners, the NHA, and government agencies that own the parcels of land.

Awarding the titles had been hampered due to various issues in the process. Arroyo has been trying to speed up the process by conducting oversight hearings.