Housing one-stop shop urged

By James A. Loyola

The two leading mass housing organizations urge government bodies drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the newly-created Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) to give priority to the establishment of housing one-stop processing centers around the country.

In a recent public hearing conducted by the House Committee on Housing, in performance of its oversight functions with the passage of the law creating DHSUD, many stakeholders bewailed the increasing cost of housing, making it less affordable to the underprivileged and homeless.

The Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) proposes, that DHSUD immediately establish Housing One-Stop Processing Centers (HOPCs) in the regions.

It also wants the DHSUD to convene the Inter-Agency Committee for housing related permits to ensure the effective implementation of, and compliance with, the HOPCs nationwide, including but not limited to adopting socialized housing express lanes.

OSHDP President Jefferson Bongat said in a statement that “the precipitous decline to License to Sell issued across all types of housing projects is due to numerous permits and licenses, and new rules and regulations increasingly being required by government agencies, threatening the sustainability and momentum of housing starts in the country.”

In the latest Accomplishment Report by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), supply of residential units reached 204,344 only corresponding to 579 housing projects in 2018.

It significantly dropped by 25.57 percent after reaching a high of 274,545 units corresponding to 742 projects in 2017.

New housing projects are required to get permits from the Local Government Unit, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, HLURB, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and other government instrumentalities.

The independent think tank Center for Housing and Independent Research Synergies (CHAIRS) has made a study that a housing developer has to go through 27 offices, secure 78 permits and 146 signatures, and submit a total of 373 documents.

As this is not an item currently being provided for in the National Appropriations Budget, OSHDP and the Socialized Housing Alliance Roundtable Endeavor (SHARE) urge strongly the Department of Budget and Management to accordingly set aside funds for the purpose, so as to make Section 23 operable.

The two organizations believe that this provision is one of the more important intent of the lawmakers in crafting the law, to untangle the excruciating gridlock among many government bodies involved in the provision for housing production.

SHARE President Marcelino Mendoza said “Non-Government Organizations and small housing developers are most affected in their delivery of housing production as they operate with very thin margins and cannot afford these soft costs associated with long project cycles and resulting cost overruns. Section 23 of DHSUD law effectively supersedes Executive Order No. 184, Series of 1984, which was ineffective and left unimplemented.”