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VP sees completion of citizens’ housing charter by November if…

by Cai Ordinario - August 24, 2016 [ ]

To speed up the government’s efforts to address the country’s housing backlog, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) intends to come up with a citizens’ charter for the housing sector within the year.

Vice President and HUDCC Chairman Maria Leonor G. Robredo said the charter will include information on fees, requirements and processing time.

She added that the HUDCC may be able to release the charter as early as November, only if the lineup of officials in the six shelter agencies will be completed by October 1.

“[Our target for the completion of the charter is] within the year. Ang problema namin ngayon, maraming agencies ang hindi pa naa-appoint ng Pangulo. Ngayon pinag-sa-submit ng courtesy resignation ng Pangulo ang lahat ng government appointees, so marami iyong bakanteng opisina [However, the recent presidential order to certain appointees to quit their posts presents another problem for us, since many more position are expected to be vacated, aside from  previously unfilled positions],” Robredo said.

“Hindi kami maka-proceed kung kulang pa ang tao. Hopefully by September nakapag-appoint na ng tao para makasimula na kami. Hopefully, October 1, puno na iyong lahat ng shelter agencies within one month malalabas na namin ang Charter  [We may find it difficult to proceed if no appointments are made within our time frame, but, hopefully, by October 1, when all slots under these shelter agencies have been filled, we may be able to come up with the charter as we envision],” she added.

The charter will help in the HUDCC’s efforts to speed up document processing of socialized housing to only 15 to 30 days, from the current processing of two years.

Robredo added that the creation of the charter will help the HUDCC in its plan to create a one-stop-shop for property developers who want to go into  socialized housing.

The envisioned one-stop-shop is one solution that Robredo intends to create to prevent property developers from waiting for two to four years before they are granted permits to undertake their socialized-housing projects.

“Kasi ngayon ang sinasabi ng karamihan, nawawalan sila ng ganang pumasok sa socialized housing kasi hindi business friendly ang  proseso. [Some people say they have lost the drive to enter the socialized-housing business, saying that the process is so tedious and not so business friendly],” Robredo said.

Apart from this, Robredo also plans to provide construction training to relocatees to provide them jobs and enable them to work on other socialized-housing projects of the government, similar to that of Thailand.  Robredo aims to turn carpenters, plumbers, masons and other local handymen in poor communities into a pool of community builders and provide them training in advanced construction of buildings.

“So ito, parang kumprehensibo ang programa. Hindi mo lang binibigyan ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng bahay, pero binibigyan mo ng pagkakataon magkahanap-buhay [We intend to come up with a comprehensive program that will not only provide housing but also livelihood to the beneficiaries],” Robredo added.

Meanwhile, Robredo said the Social Housing and Finance Corp. (SHFC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding  (MOU) to streamline the processes of application for housing in both government agencies.

Under the MOU, the SHFC and HLURB will reduce documentary requirements for clearances, permits and/or licenses and processing time and expediting of procedure through establishment of common or accessible offices.

The MOU also called for the establishment of common and dedicated data bank to facilitate verification of documents and approval of applications and identify priority projects and local government units. “Natutuwa tayo na kasama natin ang SHFC and HLURB sa pangarap na mas mapabilis ang pagpoproseso ng mga pabahay para sa ating mga kababayan [I am glad that SHFC and HLURB will be together to fast track the process of owning a home],” Robredo added.

Earlier, Robredo said the government does not have an inventory of available lands for mass housing and a comprehensive list of homeless Filipinos making it difficult to jump-start a housing program in the country.

She said she wants to deal with the country’s housing problem through a “comprehensive and integrated” way. But this would be difficult without the needed data.

Robredo said that, while the Land Registration Authority has commissioned a study to determine the available lands for mass housing, it has not yet been released, as the government has yet to pay for it.

The Vice President said she has requested the Department of Budget and Management to release the payment to the entity, which she did not identify.

In terms of the list of homeless Filipinos, particularly in cities, Robredo said that so far only Las Piñas, Quezon City and Valenzuela have come up with an updated listing.

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