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House ratifies bicam report of new housing department

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives ratified on Wednesday the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD).

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, chair of House committee housing and urban development, proposed DHUD under House Bill 6675 and Senate Bill 1578 will not only help address the huge housing backlog in the country but will also “focus on building communities and habitats in both rural and urban areas.”

The approval of the measure in Congress came after nearly three decades of numerous attempts to establish the department. The first bill was filed in 1989.

“The consolidated version of the bill reflects the best and most acceptable acceptable legislative proposal as it contained recommendations made by various housing stakeholders during the year-long 2015 National Housing Summit,” said Benitez.

The proposed legislation will merge the functions of the Housing and Urban Developoment Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

Benitez said the official DHUD draft defines the functions of the proposed department that would include the formulation, development and coordination of housing and urban development policies, finance and production and public housing.

Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, one of the measure’s principal authors, said the agency’s ultimate goal was “to provide decent and affordable houses to every Filipino family at the soonest possible time and at the least cumbersome manner.”

Attached to the DHUD are the following existing government corporations: National Housing Authority; Home Guarantee Corporation, National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation, Home Development Mutual Fund and Social Housing Finance Corporation.

The proposed legislation reconstituted the HLURB as the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission which will absorb the adjudicatory authority of the former.

Meanwhile, the HUDCC is set to be abolished while its powers, functions and fund transferred to the new department.

“The DHUD is mandated to implement a rational, well-balanced, orderly and efficient redevelopment of the urban communities and the development of new settlements in rural and non-farm areas,” said Benitez.