House approves bill creating local shelter boards nationwide
CALAPAN CITY - A proposed law creating a local housing board in every city and municipality to provide the people with adequate quality but affordable social housing nationwide has been approved recently on the third and final reading by the House of Representatives.
In a press statement released here the other day, Oriental Mindoro 1st District Congressman Rodolfo Valencia, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, stated that House Bill 4505, which he co-authored with Rep. Edwin Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City), will give local government units (LGUs) more power, authority and responsibilities particularly, with regards to the provision of housing in their respective localities.
According to Congressman Valencia, once the bill becomes a law, it will provide the administrative machinery that shall complement the efforts of shelter agencies to effect the full implementation of Republic Act No. 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act, as part of the solution to the problem of homelessness among many Filipinos.
Olivarez, on the other hand, said the bill, to be known as the "Local Housing Board Act of 2011," shall ensure greater and more effective multi-sectoral participation with regard to housing programs.
The bill, it was also learned, mandates the establishment of a Special Housing Trust Fund which shall come from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), the amount of which shall be determined by the LGU and proceeds from the collection of the additional one-half percent tax on real estate.
Other sources of funds to support the operations of the Local Housing Board (LHB) shall come from various sources intended for housing and other related development programs and payments, remittances, accrued interest and other fees generated from housing related activities, Olivarez stated.
Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), another author of the bill, said there is really a need for a specialized body in the LGUs that shall ensure the faithful and proactive execution of housing programs at the local level.
"There is an urgent need to hasten the delivery of shelter services to our people, especially those who need it most," Biazon said.
Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito (Lone District, San Juan City), another proponent of the bill, said there is also a need to institutionalize multi-sectoral representation in local housing initiatives.
Under the measure, the creation of a Local Housing Board in every city and 1st and 3rd class municipalities is mandated, provided that 4th and 5th class municipalities may create their own LHB if they so desire for the purpose of formulating, implementing and monitoring policies on the provision of housing and on the observance of a just and humane procedure in cases of eviction and/or demolition at the local level.
The bill also provides for the creation of a Housing and Urban Development Officer who will implement the policies, plans and programs formulated by the LHB.
Also, the measure devolves the function of clearinghouse for eviction and/or demolition from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor to the LHB, for it to oversee the implementation of a just and humane manner of eviction and or demolition pursuant to Section 28 of RA 7279. (J.R. Mahusay and Louie Cueto)