More responsive housing program sought

November 17, 2018

Detained Senator Leila de Lima filed a bill seeking to create local housing boards and adopt a comprehensive planning approach to ensure a decent and affordable housing for the underprivileged families.

De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 2092 amending certain provisions of Republic Act No. 7279, also known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA), and adopt the people’s planning approach as a primary mode of delivering shelter and related services for the urban poor.

The senator claimed that the country's backlog in housing for the poor currently stands at about two million.

“(People’s planning) approach can help make the government housing program more responsive to the needs of poor families as it emphasizes community-initiated development plans that are being formulated by people’s organizations themselves,” she said.

Under her measure, the local housing boards (LHBs) shall be established in all cities and first-class and second-class municipalities to ensure proper formulation, development, implementation, and monitoring of important local policies, including the preparation and approval of local shelter plans.  

Based on the figures from the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, there are about 1,502,336 informal settler families (ISFs) all over the country and 40 percent of them are in Metro Manila.

According to the Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), there are several loopholes in UDHA that result in inadequate protection for the rights of the ISFs.

De Lima said her measure supports the comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program whose success largely depends on the direct and meaningful participation of all stakeholders -- including LGUs and affected communities -- in the planning, implementation and monitoring processes.

To ensure that the basic right to adequate housing, such as availability, affordability, accessibility, among others, are protected and fulfilled, the senator from Bicol said the CHR may be invited as an observer in the local housing board.