By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Leaders of the House of Representatives have lauded President Duterte for recently signing into law a measure creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo expressed gratitude to the Chief Executive for signing Republic Act (RA) No. 11201.
“We thank President Duterte for his decisive action to give dignified shelters for poor Filipinos by instituting a national comprehensive framework on resilient housing and human settlements,” Abu said.
Castelo noted that the law would further promote on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor, which is already being implemented in his district.
“In the second district of Quezon City, many informal settlers in some barangays (Commonwealth, Batasan, Holy Spirit, and Payatas) have been benefitting from this program (on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects). The government-owned land in many barangays is being awarded to my poor constituents where they live,” he said.
Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, principal author of the proposal and chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, earlier said the newly-signed law will address the decades-long informal settlers’ problem in the country.
“We should maximize government lands that have been idle for years and use it for Filipino families who need housing that are close to their source of income,” he said.
RA 11201 seeks to “develop and implement urban renewal program that includes the identification of idle lands that will be used as in-city housing sites”, Benitez said.
“Instead of just building houses, the government shelter programs should also consider access to basic needs such as livelihood, transportation, education and health. This is a step towards the realization of providing affordable homes to Filipino families,” he said.
RA 11201 calls for the abolition of the Housing and Land Use and Regulatory Board (HLURB) and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. It is expected to “restructure” five housing agencies like National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
Under the law, HLURB will be reconstituted into the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission, which will have its own regional field units.