THE REAL ESTATE SERVICE ACT of the PHILIPPINES

Senate passes bill creating Department of Human Settlements



MANILA – The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a proposed measure that would create the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Senate Bill No. 1578, or the Human Settlements and Urban Development Act of 2017, was approved with a vote of 20-0, with no abstention.

Under the measure, the Department of the Human Settlements and Urban Development shall be created through the consolidation of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
The Department shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlements and urban development.

It shall be the sole planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring, adjudicating entity for all housing, human settlement and urban development concerns, primary focusing on the access to and affordability of the basic human needs.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito hailed the passage of SB 1578, saying the creation of a department for human settlements would be an integral part of the government's machinery for transformation to a better Philippines.

In his manifestation speech, Ejercito noted that the proposed measure has been pending in Congress for more than two decades.

“The Filipino people have been waiting for this bill as early as the 8th Congress under Senate President Jovito Salonga and House Speaker Ramon Mitra, Jr. I am happy that it is in this Congress, through the leadership of Senate President Sotto, that the full fledge department for the housing sector will soon be put in place,” he said.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement said the bill’s approval showed that lawmakers have taken seriously the challenges in the housing sector.

“With the department, we will now have a more efficient and systematic way of addressing the massive issues affecting the housing and urban development sector. We will now have a central body in charge of the sector that will focus on access to and affordability of shelter,” Ejercito said.

"I am in faith that the measure will be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in no time," he added.

Under the bill, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development would be composed of the Office of the Secretary, and the Bureaus of Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation; Environmental, Land Use, and Urban Planning and Development; Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation; and the Homeowners Association and Community Development.

Among the functions of the bureau for Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation are: to formulate a national housing and urban development policies and strategies that are consistent with the Philippine Development Plan to promote social and economic welfare; formulate housing finance policies; formulate and implement housing policies and programs, in coordination with the key 22 shelter agencies for urban poor communities and informal settler families; and hold continuing and comprehensive studies and research necessary for housing and urban development, among others.

Meanwhile, the Bureau for Environmental, Land Use and Urban Planning and Development is tasked to develop and maintain a shelter and urban development management, standards and monitoring information system; provide technical assistance to LGUs in strengthening its role and building the capability of provinces, cities and municipalities as the primary entities for housing and urban development and management; and assist the LGUs in the establishment of a Special Housing Fund which shall be exclusively used for the new settlement projects with housing and urban development new settlement projects and renewal projects of the LGUs.

The Bureau for Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation shall develop mechanisms and implement programs that will initiate and promote the establishment of new settlements, urban renewal programs, and prototypes of housing and urban development interventions; manage and oversee the development of proclaimed housing sites; implement a single regulatory system that shall govern all activities relative to the planning, production, marketing, and management of housing and urban development projects; and take over unfinished, incomplete or abandoned licensed real estate development projects under Presidential Decree No. 957, among others.

On the other hand, the Homeowners Association and Community Development shall register, regulate and supervise the Homeowners Associations and Condominium Units Owners Associations/Corporations and other housing development associations; provide technical assistance to encourage housing cooperatives and civil society organizations to serve as the implementing agencies of their housing and urban development programs; and promote integrated approaches that provide decent housing, suitable living environment, and expanded economic opportunities for low and moderate income persons, among others.

The bill also proposes the creation of a National Shelter Board to address housing policies and plans as well as to reduce bureaucracy.

The board will be composed of the secretary of the Department of the Human Settlements and Urban Development, the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, the secretaries of the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government, the heads of the key shelter agencies, specifically the National Housing Authority, Home Guaranty Cooperation, National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, Home Development Mutual Fund, and the Social Housing Finance Corporation. (PNA)
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