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Build resilient homes – DILG chief Abalos urges industry players

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos
DILG Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos at CREBA's general membership meeting and election

Interior and Local Governments Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos urged housing industry players not just to build homes, but to build resilient structures with the necessary facilities in the communities for proper sewage management, water and sanitation, drainage, and wastewater treatment.

Speaking before the general membership meeting of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations (CREBA) last week, Abalos said that these facilities are essential in fulfilling the country’s commitment to sustainable development goals (SDG).

Sewage system requirement

Abalos cited DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-62 which enjoins local governments (LGUs) to grant incentives to residential, commercial and industrial establishments that have wastewater management facilities or systems.

The circular also makes it mandatory for LGUs to ensure that all residential (including private subdivisions), commercial, industrial, institutional, and governmental establishments have proper sewage treatment and septage management system.

DILG interventions for housing

Abalos said that in ensuring the LGUs’ support to housing development, the DILG has been intensifying its interventions, such as enhancing LGU capabilities and supporting digitalization of LGU regulation and services.

Some 71 percent of all cities and municipalities have Comprehensive Development Plans in effect, some 43 percent have updated Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP), while 52 percent have CLUPS due for updating, Abalos reported.

To monitor compliance with the legal requirements, Abalos said, LGUs are required to submit quarterly reports and are subject to random on-site validation visits.

Abalos also bared that in addition to the “Guidelines in the Processing of Construction-Related Permits” under the inter-agency Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-01, the following new policies in the processing of building permits have been prescribed:

  • Requirements of documents generated by the LGU itself, such as Tax Declaration, Tax Receipt, Locational or Zoning Clearance will no longer be submitted by the applicant, but instead will form part of backroom processes.

  • Required clearances from NGAs will be submitted 30 days after the issuance of Building Permits.  Failure to submit these clearances may suspend the Building Permit and delay the approval or release of the Certificate of Occupancy.

  • Barangay Clearance will be applied and issued at the City and Municipal level.

Devolution

Abalos also said that in line with President Marcos’ directive to analyze the full devolution initiative – i.e. transfer of powers and functions to LGUs – the department has already identified the core functions and services that should be devolved to LGUs and those that should be “unbundled” or performed by national government agencies.

Some industry players present during the event, who asked to remain anonymous, wondered if the process of valuation for real property tax purposes could be unbundled from the LGUs, which could considerably help eliminate serious dysfunctions in the land markets caused by arbitrary tax assessments.

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