New shelter dep’t to solve urban poor’s housing woe -- solon

February 24, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

THE new law signed by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development will finally solve the decades-long informal settlers’ problem as this will promote on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor that would protect their jobs.

“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,” said Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, the principal author of the proposal and chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

“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,” said Benitez.

He said Republic Act (RA) No. 11201’s primary mandate is to “develop and implement urban renewal program that includes the identification of idle lands that will be used as in-city housing sites.”

“Instead of just building houses, the government shelter programs should also consider access to basic needs such as livelihood, transportation, education and health. This is a step towards the realization of providing affordable homes to Filipino families,” he said.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, and 1Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero lauded President Duterte for signing the measure into law.

“We thank President Duterte for his decisive action to give dignified shelters for poor Filipinos by instituting a national comprehensive framework on resilient housing and human settlements,” said Abu. Castelo recalled that the on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor has been implemented in his district.

“In the second district of Quezon City, many informal settlers in some barangays (Commonwealth, Batasan, Holy Spirit, and Payatas) have been benefitting from this program (on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects). The government-owned land in many barangays is being awarded to my poor constituents where they live,” said Castelo who is leading the program where development projects for the communities are also being implemented to ensure decent shelter and environment for his constituents that is near their work.

“This part of the law will take time to happen, but with a results-oriented and competent Human Settlements Secretary, the corporate restructuring can happen sooner rather than later,” said Romero for his part.

The law will “restructure” five housing agencies like National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).

RA No. 11201 will abolish the Housing and Land Use and Regulatory Board and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

HLURB, under the law, will be reconstituted into the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission, which will have its own regional field units.

The new housing department is mandated to establish Socialized Housing One-Stop Processing Centers in the regions.