APRIL 3, 2013

NR # 3062B

Disposition of public lands for socialized housing sought
In the wake of the fast growing number of squatters and homeless families in the country, lawmakers today stressed the urgent need for government to make public lands available for socialized housing development. House Bill 4578, to be known as the “Idle Government Owned Lands Disposition Act of 2011,” prescribes the mechanisms to facilitate the disposition of government-owned lands for socialized housing. It was approved on March 23, 2011 and transmitted to the Senate for appropriate action. The measure, a consolidation of four original bills filed separately, was sponsored and defended in plenary by the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development chaired by Rep. Rodolfo Valencia. Authors of the original measures included Reps. Joseph Gilbert Violago and Rodante Marcoleta (HB 1041); Reps. Eric Owen Singson and Lani Mercado-Revilla (HB 1818); Rep. Winston Castelo (HB 2907); and Reps. Rodolfo Biazon and Romeo Acop (HB 3040). Enactment of the law would ensure the availability of sufficient land for socialized housing and improve the capability of local government units (LGUs) to undertake urban development and housing projects, the authors said. “We know the time constraint by the current Congress but we will not stop until the problem of housing is addressed accordingly even by the next Congress,” they added. One key provision of HB 4578 is the declaration that at least ten percent (10%) of governmentowned lands be sold, alienated and encumbered for development purposes, or at least 10% of the proceeds of the sale said public lands be segregated or allocated for socialized housing projects. Likewise, the measure directs the conveyance of the segregated land or fund to the National Housing Authority for lands owned by the national government for the development of socialized housing projects. However, for lands owned by the LGUs, the bill mandates the retention by the LGUs of the segregated land or fund to be utilized exclusively for socialized housing. The proposed law also authorizes the NHA and the LGUs to enter into a joint venture agreement or other similar agreements with private developers and non-government organizations engaged in housing production. All LGUs are also directed to identify and set aside all local-government-owned lands suitable for socialized housing. Furthermore, the NHA, in coordination with the DENR, is likewise directed to identify lands owned by the national government or any of its subdivisions, instrumentalities or agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, which have not been used for the purpose they have been reserved for the past 10 years, to be set aside for socialized housing, provided that such lands have been declared open to disposition whether through an act of Congress or other related laws. (30) dpt