Use idle gov’t lands for low-cost housing — lawmaker

December 26, 2018

IDLE lands owned by the government will soon be utilized, according to a measure the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, expressed elation over the overwhelming support of the lawmakers for House Bill 8553 or the Idle Government-owned Lands Disposition Act.

The bill ensures availability of sufficient land for socialized housing by tapping idle government land for the purpose.

Aside from ensuring sufficient land for socialized housing projects, the bill also seeks to improve the capability of local government units to undertake urban development and housing projects.

Benitez is one of the sponsors of the measure.

He added that the measure seeks to address the huge housing backlog in the country.

It directs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to conduct an inventory of all idle government-owned lands which have not been used for the purpose for which they have been reserved for the last ten years.

The bill also mandates the Department of Interior and Local Government, through the local government units, to conduct similar inventory of all idle lands in the municipality level and furnish HUDCC a copy of its list.

As soon as the idle lands have been identified, the National Housing Authority will have to immediately act to build housing units for the homeless in national government lands, the measure added.