Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has initiated a review of the implementation of Executive Order 48, s.2001 particularly in Pineda, Pasig City.
The EO issued during her presidency declares non-core properties of the Philippine National Railways as sites for socialized housing, for disposition to actual bona fide occupants in view of the urgency and need by thousands of informal settlers to acquire land ownership and shelter security.
At the hearing conducted by the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Arroyo and her fellow legislators sought to explore and settle any issues that hinder the residents of Pineda from acquiring land tenure.
Arroyo hoped to clarify in particular that only an issue regarding arrears needed to be settled before the occupants could move forward with the ownership process.
“Outside of the issue of the arrears, there is no conflict with any alignment? So in other words, as long as they comply with the original rules, it’s available for them?” Arroyo asked.
For his part, PNR general manager Junn Magno confirmed that titles could be transferred to the residents as soon residents’ arrears were settled.
“Actually, we have subdivided the titles. We are ready to transfer the land to them, provided they pay the arrears. That’s the real issue. They were delayed only in the opayments. There was no issue from our end on that one,” he said.
The PNR added that only a small portion of the residents had created a homeowners association and applied for the properties under EO 48, s. 2001.
Moreover, though some areas have entered into memoranda of understanding as well as conditional contracts with the PNR under a prepayment period of 15 years, some residents have lapsed in their payments.
As such, Magno sought the assistance of the House to respond to requests of residents to have their arrears waived.
“Only a House bill will allow us to remove surcharges. We ask for relief from the committee to sponsor the bill,” Magno said.
Meanwhile, Benitez reminded the PNR that the EO must be honored regardless of payment issues with the residents.
“Even if there are arrears or nonpayment, it does not change the objective of the Executive Order. It is still designed for socialized housing,” he said.
Benitez also supported the request of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council to be included in the planning of the process and urged the HUDCC and PNR to continue discussions on the matter.