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HUDCC recommends issuance of investment priority list

Posted on April 26, 2011 10:14:22 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
THE HOUSING and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) stands pat on its position to keep last year’s P3-million price ceiling for mass housing projects eligible for perks under the 2011 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), the head of the housing agency said in a forum yesterday.
This, even after the Board of Investments (BoI), which is pushing for a lower cap of P2.5 million as representing the bulk of what can be considered as affordable housing, had pressed HUDCC to reconsider its stand.
At the same time, however, Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay, who heads HUDCC, has written President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, asking the latter to promptly issue the IPP guidelines that will list preferred areas of investment for this year, even as the specific guidelines, which will spell out the criteria, will have to await resolution of the housing eligibility issue.
"We wish to inform the President that the HUDCC recommends the approval of the proposed 2011 IPP with the inclusion of mass housing projects under the Preferred Activities list," Mr. Binay wrote in an April 20 memorandum, a copy of which was provided BusinessWorld.
"The specific provisions on the eligibility requirements for mass housing projects, including the acceptable ceiling for housing projects, shall be coordinated with DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and other concerned agencies during the formulation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the IPP," the memorandum added.
Speaking at a forum yesterday of the Management Association of the Philippines at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City, Mr. Binay stressed that HUDCC was maintaining its "position at P3 million, subject to discussion between the DTI, DoF (Department of Finance) and other concerned agencies."
BoI Executive Director Efren V. Leaño said via text yesterday that the IPP "can’t be implemented" without the IRR.
He added that further HUDCC-BoI meetings have yet to be scheduled.
"I know that BoI and HUDCC are going to meet to discuss the details. [But there is] no date yet," Mr. Leaño said.
When asked if his agency was ready to compromise if only to get the IPP under way, Mr. Leaño said: "As of now, our mandate is to explain why we’re recommending P2.5 million."
HUDCC Secretary General Celia S. Alba, in a separate interview, said her agency is expecting a call from BoI this week to arrange the details of the meetings.
"We are hoping the BoI will call within the week. We will discuss the ceiling at the technical level. The IPP itself can already be approved because mass housing is already included. It’s only the implementing rules that we have to discuss," Ms. Alba said. -- Ana Mae G. Roa
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