The Housing & Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) has confirmed a staggering housing backlog of over 3.7 million units. This statistic cannot just be ignored. Addressing this problem should be a priority to reflect the country’s status as a growing economy, hence the urgent need to pass legislation that will benefit the
The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations, Inc. (CREBA) has long been an advocate of the Department of Housing Bill, which we first championed in 1993. The bill has been filed almost Congress after Congress by the same personalities, such as Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia and Congressman Amado S. Bagatsing, who share our cause. Unfortunately, it remains to be passed into law. Our representatives from Congress have always approved the bill, but the Senate has consistently deferred its approval and caused it to remain nothing more but a concept on paper.
We also acknowledge that the latest version of the bill remains faithful to its first draft in 1993, and we do appreciate and support this initiative. Essentially, the contentious issue here involves the status of the key shelter agencies (KSA) such as the National Housing Authority (NHA), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB),
Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).
The KSA’s primordial concern, I would venture to guess, is losing their corporate identity and becoming mere bureaus under the Department of Housing. But under our draft in 1993 and the same this year, the KSAs will retain their corporate status, their own corporate board and members of the board of trustees, and they will just be under
the direct supervision and control of the Department Secretary.
The infrastructure is already in place. Each agency has its own funds generated from within, so the government doesn’t have to provide them any budget even if the Department of Housing bill is passed into law.
A separate housing department can focus on a mandate of addressing issues on housing and environmental concerns. It can likewise prioritize the formulation of an effective and comprehensive national land use plan, which is essential to the current rate of building construction and urbanization that the country is experiencing.
We fervently hope that under the Aquino administration, both Houses can finally pass this bill so that the housing backlog can be effectively addressed. With such law in place, we can finally achieve the nation’s collective goal of providing every Filipino family, not only with a roof over their heads, but a decent home to call their own.