After 15 years of waiting, 47 urban poor families from Quezon City finally got their housing titles after former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo intervened to speed up the awarding process.
Last Wednesday, Arroyo personally awarded Certificates of Entitlement to Lot Allocation to 47 families in Camp Atienza, in Libis, Quezon City, securing the families' land tenurial status at the socialized housing site.
The 47 families were the first batch of 154 housing family-beneficiaries who have long anticipated the National Housing Authority to undertake subdivision survey and title individual lots in Camp Atienza.
However, this could only be conducted once the property title is transferred from the Bases Conversion Development Authority to the NHA’s name. The transfer had been stalled by a 15-year wait for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to grant an exemption to real property tax.
The issuance of CELAs is therefore a watershed moment for Camp Atienza residents, who are now assured of their rights to the land they occupy.
Moreover, it is a milestone in the families’ long road to secure land tenurial status. The Atienza Neighborhood Association’s request for proclamation on housing was originally sent to Malacañang in 1993, where it gathered dust awaiting action.
It was only when the Speaker took the helm as President that the request materialized. Nearly a decade after it was first sent to Malacañang, the request gathered momentum when then-President Arroyo signed Executive Order 116 in 2002.
EO 116 declared large swaths of Camp Claudio in Tambo, Parañaque and Camp Atienza in Libis, Quezon City as socialized housing sites for disposition to qualified occupants. It paved the way for a memorandum of agreement to finally implement the housing project.
The MOA was signed in 2006 among the NHA, the BCDA, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Local Government of Quezon City, and the Office of the Congressman of the 3rd District of Quezon City.
In 2009, the BCDA conveyed the property to the NHA, the project administrator, for disposition to qualified beneficiaries.
Over the course of the next eight years until 2017, the BCDA and NHA worked on the required documentation to transfer the land titles to the BCDA; amend the BDA's deed of conveyance to correct the area covered for housing from 5,340 sqm to a whopping 5,434 sqm; and finally, amend the BCDA's exemption from real property tax.
The BCDA has stated that if the BIR does not approve the exemption, the BCDA will pay the real property tax so that it can secure the Certificate of Authorizing Registration, a requirement by the Registry of Deed before it can finally transfer the property in the name of the NHA.
The site visit was conducted in the desire of Speaker Arroyo to see the impact of her asset reform program.
In 2001, then-President Arroyo signed a memorandum directing all heads of government departments, agencies, and government owned and controlled corporations, and their instrumentalities to identify areas for socialized housing purposes. Her policy ultimately focused on securing and regularizing the land tenurial status of informal settlers occupying public lands.
This prompted the BCDA to accelerate the conversion of military reservations into other productive uses such as civilian housing development.
Camp Atienza is one of the 118 Presidential Proclamations on housing approved by the Speaker during her time as President. The proclamations on housing signed by Speaker Arroyo are estimated to cover over 30,000 hectares nationwide, benefiting millions of Filipinos.