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House approves Albee Benitez’s pet bill creating housing super body

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a measure creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Voting 196-6, lawmakers approved House Bill 6775, which seeks to create the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development by merging the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez shepherded the bill as chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development

The new department is mandated to act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlement, and urban development.

It shall be responsible for the implementation of a rational, well-balanced, orderly and efficient redevelopment of urban communities and the development of new settlements in rural and non-farm areas to assure dwellers of decent and affordable housing, job and livelihood opportunities, efficient mass transit, public safety, health care, educational opportunities, and clean environment.

The department shall be headed by a Secretary and assisted by four Undersecretaries and four Assistant Secretaries to be appointed by the President.

The bill proposes to reconstitute the HLURB into an adjudicatory body called Human Settlements Adjudication Commission, which shall adjudicate on all issues and controversies arising from the interpretation and implementation of the “Urban Development and Housing Act” (Republic Act No. 7279).

The bill also aims to rationalize and coordinate the functions of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and National Housing Authority (NHA). (PNA)