JULY 25, 2013

NR # 3175B

Bill to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development
A bill merging the two housing agencies into the proposed Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) has been filed at the House of Representatives. Rep. William Fuentebella (1st District, Camarines Sur) authored House Bill 1551, which seeks to address the absence of an adequate and coherent institutional framework that will enable a holistic management of housing and urban development. Fuentebella said the main feature of the bill is the merger of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). “It will also address the weakness of the present set-up and define the horizontal and vertical relationship of the department with the other government agencies and local government units,” Fuentebella said. Fuentebella said the HUDCC serves as the oversight, over-all coordinator, initiator, enabler and facilitator of all government policies, plans and programs for the housing sector. On the other hand, the HLURB, an attached agency of the HUDCC, has integrative roles of town planning assistance to local government units, real estate management and regulation, and adjudication of cases involving regulatory permits and licenses, and appeals from the decisions of local zoning bodies. “The bill separates adjudication functions from regulation functions and thereby removing potential conflict of interest issues,” Fuentebella said to differentiate his measure from other similar bills seeking the creation of a housing department. Fuentebella said the merger of HLURB and HUDCC will strengthen government responsibility and accountability on policy coordination, alignment of environmental and land use plans across the national, regional, provincial and city and municipal levels, regulation of land development and housing construction and empowerment of homeowners and homeowners’ associations in building sustainable communities. “We should strengthen adjudication in housing, land use and urban development by reconstituting HLURB into a stronger Adjudication Commission with nine full-time Commissioners and additional jurisdiction on eviction and demolition in subdivisions and condominiums,” Fuentebella said. Fuentebella said the creation of the DHUD and the Adjudication Commission will also result in an institutionalized public-private partnership in building sustainable communities. “We should correct the weakness of the current council or board system on accountability of public officers. It is high time that we clearly define and hold somebody accountable on critical areas of physical planning, regulation of real estate development, and community empowerment towards development of sustainable communities,” Fuentebella said. (30) dpt