The House of Representatives on Wednesday night ratified the bicameral committee report which recommends the creation of a Department of Housing and Urban Development intended to rationalize and coordinate the functions and powers of various housing agencies of the state.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, endorsed the committee report for plenary adoption.
The committee report of the bicameral panel consolidated the two versions of the DHUD measure.
Benitez said the proposed DHUD would not only help address the huge housing backlog in the country but also “focus on building communities and habitats in both rural and urban areas.”
Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was among the principal authors of the proposed law.
“The ultimate goal is to provide decent and affordable houses to every Filipino family at the soonest possible time and at the least cumbersome manner,” said Arroyo in her bill’s explanatory note.
The bill abolishes the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council as it proposes to merge the functions of the HUDCC and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.
Benitez said the enactment of the proposed Department of Housing and Urban Development was long overdue.
He said the approval of the bill in both chambers of Congress came after nearly three decades of numerous attempts to establish the department.
The first bill was filed in 1989.
“The consolidated version of the bill reflects the best and most acceptable acceptable legislative proposal as it contained recommendations made by various housing stakeholders during the year-long 2015 National Housing Summit,” Benitez said.
Under the measure, Benitez said the final DHUD proposal defined the functions of the proposed department that would include the formulation, development, and coordination of housing and urban development policies, finance and production and public housing.
“The DHUD is mandated to implement a rational, well-balanced, orderly and efficient redevelopment of the urban communities and the development of new settlements in rural and non-farm areas. It must assure families of decent and affordable housing, job and livelihood opportunities, efficient transit educational opportunities and clean environment in the communities that will be created,” said Benitez.
Another author of the bill, 1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Michael Romero, noted other vital functions of the DHUD were the development and maintenance of a shelter and urban development management program and the implementation of programs on housing and real estate development regulations.
Romero backed the creation of the DHUD to address the “inherent institutional weaknesses of the various housing and land use agencies.”
“The creation of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating was supposed to solve the problem; its limited resources and authority serves as constraints in achieving success,” Romero said.
The proposed DHUD will be headed by a secretary who will be appointed by the president as member of the Cabinet, according to Benitez.
Three undersecretaries and three assistant secretaries will also be appointed upon the recommendation of the secretary.
Attached to the DHUD are the following existing government corporations: National Housing Authority; Home Guarantee Corpor., National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund and Social Housing Finance Corp.
The HLURB is reconstituted as the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission which will absorb the adjudicatory authority of the former.