By Amita Legaspi, October 9 2018; GMA Network


Image Credit to Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking which consolidated all housing agencies into a new Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

Bill sponsor Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said Senate Bill 1578 would streamline the bureaucracy and compel shelter agencies to “work together more harmoniously and connect their plans and programs.”

“I believe that the creation of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development is a measure that is responsive to the wide clamor for the government to expedite the provision of decent and safe housing units to homeless Filipino families,” Ejercito explained.

The new department would thus act as the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for all housing and urban development concerns, and would primarily be focused on the access to and affordability of decent, and secure shelter.

Under the bill, the department would be composed of the Office of the Secretary; the Bureaus of Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation, Environmental, Land Use, and Urban Planning and Development, Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation and the Homeowners Association and Community Development.

The bill also proposed the creation of a National Shelter Board to address housing policies and plans as well as to reduce the bureaucracy.

The board would be composed of the secretary of the Department of the Human Settlements and Urban Development, the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the  secretaries of the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM),  Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the heads of the key shelter agencies, specifically the National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Cooperation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).

“Currently, the governing boards of the key shelter agencies are operating and meeting separately. The proposed National Shelter Board will rationalize and streamline the governing Boards of the different shelter agencies to come up with a more holistic and coherent plan for the housing and urban development sector,” Ejercito said.

In 2018 alone, there was a need for more than two million housing units. The figure was projected to balloon to 6,571,387 by the end of 2022. — DVM, GMA News