CREBA recently forwarded its proposals to Congress on House Bill No. 6589, or the proposed act rationalizing the requirements imposed by the Department of Agrarian Reform to ensure a speedy and efficient land registration system all over the country.
The bill is under the House Committee on Agrarian Reform cha aired by Bohol first district representative e Congressman Rene Relampagos.
In 2017, the members of CREBA supported and found commendable what was then House Bill No. 55487 authored by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez. In a nutshell, the bill clarifies that clearance or approval permits from the Department of Agrarian Reform for the purpose of registering land shall only apply to those lands which are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
It further seeks to clarify that for the registration of lands not covered by CARP, as well as those lands with a size below the 5-hectare retention limit, no clearance or permit from m the DAR shall be required.
Such a move would have been a significant measure towards reducing the costly regulatory burden suffered by the housing sector. For in fact, you cannot find any other industry that suffers as much red tape and bureaucratic delays as housing and real estate development.
In a study conducted by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) itself last year, a mapping of the permitting and licensing processes that every housing developer must go through spans at least 20 offices; 68 permits and licenses; and 200 signatures! All these are required from national agencies –the DAR included – down to the local government units including the barangays to commence any project.
All these levels do not come without serious cost implications that ultimately adversely affect the final price to housing consumers, because developers have no other recourse but to pass on such costs to the buyers.
A closer inspection of the substitute House Bill No. 6589 reveals that a new provision has been inserted which only serves to defeat the very purpose of the proposed measure: The new proposal seeks to mandate landowners to secure a “Certificate of Exemption” or “Exclusion Order” from the DAR, just the same, before they can register the property.
This new proposal will practically serve no new nobler purpose because the requirements of securing the Certificate of Exemption from a national agency such as DAR is just as lengthy and as costly as securing the Clearance itself. Thus, CREBA has called on Congress to revert to Speaker Alvarez’s original proposal and adopt it entirely as the final House version before transmitting the bill to the Senate.
Truth be told, the housing will always be a vital sector in our country’s future. It addresses not only the problem of homelessness, but provides millions of jobs to the unemployed as well as billions of revenues to fund basic government services.
In order for the private sector to fulfil its Constitutional mandate to assist in government efforts towards implementing a continuing program of urban land reform and housing to serve the underprivileged and homeless, government must harmonize its housing policies and do away with conflicting, unreasonable and overlapping requirements imposed upon an already heavily-taxed and highly-regulated industry.