By Fel V. Maragay [ manilastandardtoday.com ] May 24, 2009
A BICAMERAL committee has approved the final versions of a bill extending the rent control law for three years and another professionalizing the property market to enhance public and investor confidence in it, officials said yesterday.
Both houses of Congress were due to ratify the Rent Control Act of 2009 on Monday, House Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
And the Real Estate Services Act had been sent to Malacañang for signing into law by President Arroyo following its approval last week by both Houses, Senator Panfilo Lacson said.
The Rent Control Act limits to 10 percent any increase in the monthly rental of houses and apartments being leased for P10,000 and below in Metro Manila, and for those being let for P5,000 and below outside Metro Manila.
Zubiri said the proposed law, of which he is the principal author, would benefit 1.5 million families renting houses or apartments.
Vice President Noli De Castro thanked lawmakers for promptly approving the bill.
“They have shown their serious commitment to respond to the needs of our countrymen who are going through difficult times,” said De Castro, chairman of the Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The Real Estate Services Act requires real estate consultants, assessors, appraisers and brokers to be accredited and licensed by the Professional Regulatory Commission’s Board of Real Estate Services.
The proposed law would ensure that “only those who are technically competent and qualified in the field of real estate service are allowed to practice their profession, or will be appointed in the case of government assessors and appraisers,” Lacson said.
Zubiri said the Senate had also approved the bill exempting stock market transactions from the documentary stamp tax, the International Humanitarian Act, and the amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.
The Senate had also ratified the additional amendments to the Magna Carta for Women, Zubiri said, but it lacked time Wednesday, when it adjourned, to approve the administration-backed bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program by five more years.
Senator Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the committee on agrarian reform, said he had finished presenting committee amendments to the agrarian reform bill.
He said senators needed more time to introduce individual amendments to the bill, but the Senate should be able to pass it on second and third reading before Congress adjourned sine die on June 3.
“House leaders have told us that if the Senate will be able to approve the bill ahead of them, they will simply adopt and approve the Senate version,” Honasan said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the bill’s approval was being rushed because the six-month extension to agrarian reform would expire on June 30.