CREBA stands for the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, a private non-stock non-profit corporation established under Philippine law.
As the name suggests, it started out as the union of Philippine business and trade associations in the real estate, housing and construction industry.
CREBA was established in October 1973 by CREBA Founder MANUEL M. SERRANO, together with the industry Dons at that time: Antonio Avecilla, Luis Bernasconi, Victor Buencamino Jr, Cesar Caliwara, Demetrio Capuyoc, Rosendo Donida, Mariano Goce, Octavio Kalalo, Mariano Lucero, Ariston Nakpil, Romulo Reyes, Victorio Soliven, Artemio Valencia and Rodolfo Valencia.
Today ~ with 32 Chapters throughout the Philippines and 7 overseas ~ CREBA is the recognized umbrella organization of some 4,000 firms, individuals and associations directly or indirectly involved in land and housing, construction, allied industries and various professional fields of discipline.
CREBA’s membership includes developers of land, housing subdivisions, condominiums, industrial estates, resorts, hotels and retirement facilities; home builders; brokers; building contractors; professionals in the fields of urban and environmental planning, architecture, engineering, and real estate management; property appraisers; financial advisors; and suppliers of land development and construction inputs.
The CREBA Hymn
by Jose Manuel “Bub” S. Serrano
Philosphy, Vision & Mission
Business with a social conscience. Throughout its more than 3 decades of existence, CREBA’s actions have been guided by the overriding philosophy that the greater interest of the greatest number is always the paramount concern, and that sustaining public faith in real estate transactions is essential to the industry’s continuing progress.
Anywhere in the world, land and housing development is recognized as the primary catalyst for economic and social progress. CREBA’s vision is to enable its members to effectively fulfill their respective roles in this regard.
It is toward this end that CREBA has etched in its By-Laws the following goals:
- To instill, encourage and promote awareness among its members that ownership, development, construction, conservation, management and disposition of land and real property are imbued with public interest, and that in all relations with the public the members should at all times temper self-interest with concern for the general welfare.
- To integrate, correlate, harmonize and mage the activities of the Chamber in a manner that would best promote national growth and economic stability.
- To initiate and undertake studies on ways by which the homeless may be provided with homes of strength, durability, form, function and utility at reasonable cost.
- To initiate, encourage, and maintain effective cooperation with Government and other economic and social sectors towards formulation of programs and policies that would foster national development and provide a conducive environment for members to effectively participate in nation building.
As the vigilant vanguard of the real estate and housing sector, CREBA’s presence is nowhere more felt than whenever the fate of this industry or the interest of the homeless is at stake.
CREBA’s initiatives and advocacies have been consistently focused not just on the interest of its members, but also on enabling the millions of homeless families to acquire decent, affordable homes.
CREBA stands proud, knowing that its faithful adherence to its philosophy and vision has earned for it the continuing respect of Government ~ to the extent that CREBA’s position is sought on any law, policy or rule that may affect the industry that it represents or those that it serves.
Public records attest to CREBA’s indispensable participation in the establishment of the administrative and regulatory infrastructure that now governs land and housing development.
Working hand in hand with Government, CREBA counts among its major achievements the following:
The idea of an umbrella organization for the real estate and housing industry was conceived in the early days of the Martial Law regime.
A month after declaring Martial Law, President Marcos Sr. promulgated PD 25 that effectively resulted in real property taxes reaching 100% of assessed value.
Spearheaded by developer Atty. Manny Serrano, leaders of the real estate industry mounted a vocal campaign against the decree.
Graciously capitulating, Marcos Sr. forthwith issued the amendatory PD 76 that reduced the tax base to only 30%, 40% and 50% respectively for residential, agricultural and industrial/commercial property.
Emboldened by the potency of a unified voice in effecting change, the leaders set out to formally charter their alliance into the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations (CREBA).
As housing subdivisions started to mushroom throughout Metro Manila, the antiquated water utility infrastructure was proving inadequate to service the needs of homebuyers.
Intensive representations by CREBA led to the construction of more water mains by the MWSS.
Prior to 1975, LGUs exercised the power to regulate land and housing development activities. The developmental nightmare worsened as rules and standards varied from one locality to another, lacking central coordination and planning.
CREBA’s advocacy for central regulation and standardization was rewarded with the promulgation of PD 957 creating the NHA.
PD 53 imposed a 30% open space requirement for housing subdivisions – exclusive of roads. This would have considerably raised housing production costs and the price of housing packages.
CREBA’s vocal opposition led to the promulgation of the amendatory PD 1216, wherein the 30% open space requirement included roads and all other non-saleable facilities/amenities.
PD 957 (Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree) was promulgated primarily to protect homebuyers.
Close collaboration between the government and CREBA in its formulation and implementation served to temper its onerous provisions, towards achieving balance in serving the interests of both the buyers and the industry.
Hand in hand, CREBA and the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC) – which was later renamed Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) – together crafted and fine-tuned the implementing rules of PD 957, and later those of BP 220.
To this day, as the developmental landscape continues to evolve, CREBA continues to work closely with the government in updating the housing development standards and rules under this Decree.
CREBA’s advocacy for the institution of a secondary mortgage market system similar to that in the US, in order to catalyze the flow of private capital into housing, led to the promulgation of PD 1267 creating the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).
The creation of the Pag-IBIG Fund under PD 1752 directly resulted from CREBA’s concept of a savings/fund pooling scheme of employee-employer contributions, to generate a special provident and housing fund for employees.
Since then, Pag-IBIG has been the major source of funds for homebuyer financing assistance to both government and private sector employees.
With the NHMFC and Pag-IBIG in place, the government was able to jumpstart the rudimentary Secondary Mortgage Market System (SMMS) for housing.
As a direct result, the years that followed saw unprecedented increases in housing production by the private sector.
As the problem of urban slums started to deteriorate, it became clear that the NHA’s energies needed to be focused on direct housing production for those unserved by the private markets.
CREBA’s advocacy for the spinoff of NHA’s central regulatory powers led to the promulgation of EO 648 creating the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission, later renamed Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
The HLURB’s development standards and guidelines, devised in continuing close collaboration with CREBA, have since then governed the evaluation, approval and licensing process for land and housing development nationwide.
Prior to 1982, only high-cost high-priced housing packages could be produced by the private sector, due to the stringent land development and housing construction standards under PD 957 and other laws.
CREBA’s persistent espousal resulted in the enactment of BP 220 – the first social housing law – which provided the legal basis to liberalize development standards. This included the reduction of required lot sizes to as small as 30 square meters.
To demonstrate its high marketability and viability, CREBA Founder Manuel Serrano pioneered the mass development of socialized housing under the implementing rules BP 220.
Encouraged by his success, many other developers immediately followed suit.
Attempts were made to amend the Constitution by inserting a “land grants” clause. This could have allowed the government, by fiat, to dole out state-owned lands to a favored few.
A media campaign mounted by CREBA was instrumental in the National Assembly rejecting this proposed amendment.
Called upon by HUDCC Chair Teodoro Katigbak, CREBA collaborated closely with the Council in coming up with the framework for the Cory Aquino administration’s social housing program.
Enactment of RA 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law) in June 1988 plunged the industry into the doldrums, and CREBA into a long-running acrimonious conflict with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The DAR has invoked the law to come up with land conversion rules which severely hamper if not altogether block non-agricultural development activities, and which – based on CREBA’s extensive legal studies – lack basis in law.
Since then and to this day, CREBA has continued to challenge the conversion rules in their various iterations. CREBA also formulated draft Executive Orders in the effort to free up more lands for housing development.
In between, onerous land conversion taxes and overly restrictive land use laws have been proposed in Congress. With untiring effort, CREBA has succeeded in convincing Congress to shelve those measures.
Among all businesses, the real estate and housing industry suffers most in terms of the heaviest tax burdens.
In December 1989, BIR Revenue Regulation No. 12-89 imposed a Creditable Withholding Tax (CWT) on all sales of real property.
The successful challenge mounted by CREBA led to the issuance of the amendatory regulation RR 1-90 just a month later, which exempted social housing projects from the imposition.
RR 1-90 also reduced the rate for industry players certified as CREBA member and habitually engaged in the real estate business (HEREB).
CREBA also challenged the 2% Minimum Corporate Income Tax (MICT), the 233% increase in the Documentary Stamps Tax (DST) on loan instruments, and the 10% VAT on foreign currency denominated sales of real property.
The Bill seeking enactment of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) incorporated a 20% Social Housing Quota, under which it is mandatory for developers producing high- and middle-income housing to also produce socialized housing.
In principle, CREBA objected to this imposition as being unjust and unduly burdensome to developers. Nonetheless, CREBA conceded when the Bill’s author Senator Joey Lina agreed to incorporate incentives and other measures recommended by CREBA to reduce the burden.
CREBA challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the Expanded VAT Law that threatened to push the prices of housing packages further beyond the reach of the homeless.
It is noteworthy that among all the 21 petitioner-organizations led by top-notch lawyers and constitutional experts, CREBA’s petition for a temporary restraining order was the only one granted by the Supreme Court.
While the suit eventually failed, CREBA nonetheless succeeded in convincing Congress to grant VAT-exemption to housing packages worth P1 Million and below.
To date, as housing prices continue to escalate and per capita income continues to deteriorate, CREBA continues the fight to increase the VAT-exemption threshold.
The Comprehensive & Integrated Shelter Finance Act (RA 7835) incorporates CREBA’s proposed funding assistance measures for socialized and low-income housing, albeit not in the form or manner that CREBA espoused
Another CREBA brainchild, the Social Housing One-Stop Processing Center (SHOPC), was created under EO 184 of 1994.
It was designed to reduce the bureaucratic red tape and concomitant costs, and thus speed up the development of social housing projects and reduce the price of housing packages to some extent.
To jumpstart operations, CREBA provided the office space, equipment and other operational requirements for the Metro Manila SHOPC, free of charge.
However, the institution eventually failed due to adamant refusal of a key player – the DAR – to obey the directives under the EO.
Fundamental flaws in the Unified Home Lending Program (UHLP) devised by the HUDCC led to the illiquidity of the NHMFC.
Seeing insolvency and collapse of the home financing system as the inevitable outcome, CREBA formulated and submitted to the administration a set of measures packaged as the Centralized Homebuyer Financing Program (CHFP) – which was completely ignored.
As a result, in 1998, the NHMFC did collapse and the HGC was illiquid from billions of pesos in guaranty calls.
Th highly publicized bitter, open war between CREBA and HUDCC led Congress to step in with a resolution ordering the HUDCC to dismantle the UHLP.
To date, CREBA continues to advocate for a continuing, viable and sustainable home financing system revolving around a healthy secondary market.
HUDCC Chair Karina David resurrected a concept of former President Marcos Sr. to come up with a National Land Use Code. This led to the filing of the Bill to enact a National Land Use Act (NLUA).
CREBA opposed the Bill as formulated, being highly detrimental to the housing industry and the entire economy by imposing a ban on the conversion and LGU reclassification of agricultural lands.
To this day, after several refilings in the Lower House and Senate, CREBA’s efforts have so far succeeded in holding off passage of the NLUA Bill.
To enhance the competencies and update the knowledge of brokers, bankers, appraisers, development planners, financial consultants and other players in the real estate and housing industry, CREBA initiated a partnership with the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE).
This partnership gave rise to the Executive Diploma Program in Real Estate Management (EDPREM) – a continuing education program covering all aspects of the real estate business.
To this day, the program continues to draw a large number of students from all walks of life, including captains of the industry and related fields of discipline.
Many of its graduates, including some legislators, have been very generous in extolling the benefits they have derived from the program.
Appalled by the heavily degraded and unprotected state of critical land and survey records at the Lands Management Bureau (LMB), CREBA – through its IT subsidiary CREBALAND – undertook the transformation of the LMB’s nationwide inventory of location monuments (tie points).
A digital database was created for the LMB, and proprietary software was developed to enable the agency to conveniently update and utilize the database in providing service to the public.
In appreciation, the DENR leadership gave CREBA the license to utilize its copy of the tie points database in servicing the parcellary mapping needs of the industry.
Inspired by the success of CREBA’s project, the LMB embarked on a massive effort to computerize its inventory of cadastral maps, approved survey plans, official technical descriptions of surveyed parcels, and other vital land records.
Also through its IT subsidiary, CREBA successfully deployed MAPSYS, the country’s first fully automated, GIS-integrated, web-based parcellary mapping system.
A unique automation designed to accurately map parcels covered by land titles and determine the existence of technical errors, MapSys received acclaim from no less than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the DENR, international land information systems experts, government officials and extremely satisfied clientele not only in the country but also from various parts of the world.
The system leveraged the digital tie point database and the most extensive and comprehensive database of geographic information covering the entire Philippines – the development of which was initiated by CREBA in order to provide industry players and investors speedy and convenient access to land information.
Hand-in-hand with the GIS Database buildup and development of MapSys, CREBA – also through CREBALAND – initiated the development of a fine-grained, comprehensive process for the thorough legal and technical analyses of land titles, survey plans and all related records.
This led to the launch in 2008 of the country’s first ever Title Warranty service. The Title Reports resulting from the process – involving property collectively worth billions of pesos – led to the clients’ successful defense of their titles, or otherwise prevented them from being victimized by land fraud.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – the very first institution to avail of the service – commended it as highly satisfactory and essential in helping curb title fraud.
In May 2008, frustrated by the felt indifference of the DAR and the Executive Branch to the plight of developers severely prejudiced by iniquitous land conversion rules, CREBA finally decided to seek judicial relief – by filing the case CREBA vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform.
Although the Supreme Court dismissed the case in 2010 by mere majority vote, CREBA nonetheless scored a win when the Court’s decision underscored that agricultural land reclassification was not synonymous with land conversion.
This effectively sustained CREBA’s assertion that the process of land reclassification by LGUs is not subject to approval by the DAR.
Seeing the success of CREBA’s unparalleled GIS, the BIR sought the Chamber’s assistance in developing the bureau’s own system for use particularly in creating zonal value maps and accurately determining applicable capital gains tax on real property transactions.
For the purpose, CREBA donated a pilot GIS to the BIR covering Metro Manila, and provided free training to BIR personnel in the use of the system.
CREBA scored a major success in international business relations when the US-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) forged an alliance with the Chamber, designating the latter as NAR’s exclusive bilateral partner association in the Philippines.
The NAR-CREBA alliance aims to promote strict adherence to the highest ethical standards among the country’s real estate practitioners, to make them more competitive in the global real estate community.
Under the CREBA-NAR agreement, Filipino real estate professionals who hold licenses issued by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) can avail of this privilege by applying and maintaining their active international realtor membership status through CREBA.
Designated as International Realtor Members (IRM), they enjoy the use of the distinctive and globally recognized REALTOR® trademark and logo that are exclusive to active card-carrying members of the NAR. They also gain access to the largest online real estate library in the world, a searchable international broker’s directory and other tools proven to leverage real estate professionals in international business.
CREBA became the target of virulent public attacks by the NLUA proponents and supporters due to its opposition to the National Land Use Act (NLUA) Bill which, as formulated and filed, was clearly detrimental to the economy and the nation as a whole.
Fed up by accusations that developers have been compromising food security and ecology through the indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lands, CREBA undertook a comprehensive geo-statistical study and analysis to determine once and for all the geographic location and extent of Built-Up areas vis-a-vis Agricultural Lands and other land classifications.
The findings – derived from NAMRIA’s own land cover maps – were astounding: Built-Up areas amounted to only 2.52% of the country’s total land area, while agricultural lands comprised 42.72%. From the period 2007 to 2010, while Built-Up areas increased by 1.25%, agricultural land area actually increased by 5.39%.
With invaluable support from then Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., and armed with the findings of its Land Quantification Project, CREBA’s indefatigable Gorayeb-Cariño leadership succeeded at the very last minute in staving off the passage of the National Land Use Act Bill in the Senate.
CREBA’s Gorayeb-Cariño powerhouse tandem again scored success by influencing the passage of RA 10884 – which amended the UDHA by reducing the balanced housing requirement from 20% to only 15% for subdivisions and 5% for condominiums.
Additional modes of compliance were also incorporated, such as joint venture with LGUs, KSAs or other private developers, and participation in the Community Mortgage Program (CMP).
Immediately after the EDSA Revolution of 1986, then President Corazon Aquino abolished the Ministry of Human Settlements and replaced it with a mere Council – the Housing & Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
After 23 years of relentless effort for the creation of a Department of Housing, CREBA finally succeeded with the enactment by Congress of RA 11201 (DHSUD Act).