PBBM to turn gov’t idle lands to housing sites, DHSUD elated

Published November 13, 2022, 9:31 AM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The signing of an Executive Order which will convert government idle lands across the country into housing sites will be of big help in addressing the 6.5 million housing backlogs, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) said on Sunday, Nov. 13.

DHSUD Secretary Jose Rzalino Acuzar is referring to the statement issued by Malacañang that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is set to sign an EO which would mandate various government agencies to conduct inventory and identify state-owned idle lands, approximated at 16,000 hectares, that are suitable for socialized housing and rural development projects.

The government agencies involved include the DHSUD, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of the Interior and Local Government

Acuzar said the EO would reinforce the a provision of the Republic Act (RA) 11201, the same law that created DHSUD in 2019, which states that lands left idle for more than 10 years and are not held by government-owned and -controlled corporations will be prioritized for housing and urban development purposes.

“Such order will surely boost our efforts to build houses and establish safe and resilient communities across the country

Acuzar said the DHSUD has already identified housing sites in strategic locations around the country which are deemed viable for human settlements. These include government properties that have the potential for land development and housing construction.

For his part, DHSUD Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Avelino Tolentino III, for his part, said the use of government lands will be beneficial to the housing program as it may result in lessening the cost of the housing units.

“We have an existing land inventory that we gathered in partnership with local government units. We also have continuing efforts to identify lands owned by national government agencies. We will consolidate all of them but we have already identified possible areas for priority development to jumpstart our implementation,” Tolentino said.

Acuzar has earlier said that the program will prioritize in-city housing sites to ensure the availability of livelihoods for the dwellers.

He added that DHSUD is pushing to keep informal settler families already living and working in cities to remain in close proximity to their livelihood as he found that previous public housing projects had been unsuccessful as families refuse to relocate away from cities.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Press Secretary reported that President Marcos is set to meet with financial institutions that could provide funding assistance to the DHSUD.

In the same vein, Secretary Acuzar has also previously tapped financial institutions and other stakeholders in the private sector to fast-track land development.