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JUNE 19, 2011

NR # 2440B

Socialized housing projects bill gets House okay

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill allowing the disposition of government-owned lands for socialized housing projects for poor Filipinos to address the country’s housing problem.

House Bill 4578 mandates the Local Government Units (LGUs) to undertake urban development and housing projects for the benefit of the underprivileged and homeless citizens.

“The right to a decent housing of every Filipino is enshrined in our Constitution. Section 9 of Article XIII states that the State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban and land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas,” said Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago (2 nd District, Nueva Ecija), one of the authors of House Bill 4578.

Rep. Eric Singson, Jr. (2 nd District, Ilocos Sur), another author of the bill, said there is a need to improve the government’s housing program in order to make available at affordable prices decent housing and basic services to poor and homeless families all over the country.

“The acute housing problem compounded by indiscriminate squatting in the urban areas necessitates a forward-looking approach to answer this basic need of the people,” Singson said.

Rep. Winnie Castelo (2 nd District, Quezon City), another author of the measure, said there should be continuing update to policies designed to address the problem of housing for the underprivileged if not for the homeless whose number or population has swelled through the years making the problem a constant menu in the country’s development agenda.

“Consistent with a rationalized land use plan, housing for the underprivileged could be set aside from government-owned lands for homeless Filipinos,” Castelo said.

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), also an author of the bill, said the housing needs of the underprivileged and homeless in the country is a problem that continuously paints a stark picture for the country’s economic managers and housing czars.

“Our government is fast running out of available residential lands for its huge and

ever-increasing population. It has to pursue a rational land use plan that will entail the rational allocation of the government’s scarce land resources to include housing for the underprivileged,” Biazon said.

Under the measure to be known as the “Idle Government-Owned Lands Disposition Act of 2011,” 10 percent of government-owned lands to be sold, alienated and encumbered for development purposes shall be segregated or allocated for socialized housing projects.

It directs the conveyance of the segregated land or fund to the National Housing Authority (NHA), for lands owned by the national government intended for the development of socialized housing projects

However, for lands owned by the LGU, the segregated land or fund shall be retained by the LGU concerned to be utilized exclusively for its socialized housing projects.

The measure authorizes the NHA and the local government unit to enter into a joint venture agreement or other similar agreements with private developers and non- governmental organizations engaged in housing production.

The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Rodante Marcoleta (Party-list, Alagad), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2 nd District, Cavite), Romeo Acop (2 nd District, Antipolo City), Rodolfo Valencia (1 st District, Oriental Mindoro), Catalina Leonen-Pizarro (Party-list, ABS), Edwin Olivarez (1 st District, Parañaque City), Amado Bagatsing (5 th District, Manila), Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6 th District, Manila), Angelo Palmones (Party-list, Agham), Arnel Ty (Party-list, LPGMA), Isidro Lico (Party-list, Ating Koop), Maria Milagros Magsaysay (1 st District, Zambales), Elmer Panotes (2 nd District, Camarines Norte), Ma. Amelita Calimbas-Villarosa (Lone District, Occidental Mindoro), Romero Federico Quimbo (2 nd District, Marikina City), Emerenciana De Jesus (Party-list, Gabriela), Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1 st District, Cotabato and General Santos City), David Kho (Party-list, Senior Citizens), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, Bagong Henerasyon), Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1 st District, Bulacan), Carlos Padilla (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya) and Joseph Victor Ejercito (Lone District, San Juan City). (30) lvc