The recent unauthorized occupation of shelter units constructed by the government for soldiers and policemen in Pandi, Bulacan by an urban poor group gives yet another compelling reason for the creation of a housing “super body.”
This was stressed by Senator Sonny Angara as he renewed his call to fast-track the approval of a bill he filed establishing a housing department that will take care of the government’s overall housing program.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD), sought to be created under Senate Bill No. 952, will not be an added layer to the bureaucracy, but a consolidation under one roof of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board,” the senator pointed out.
Angara said the main objective of creating the DHUD, which shall operationalize the constitutional mandate of implementing a continuing urban land reform and housing program in cooperation with the private sector, is to deliver affordable, decent housing for Filipinos.
When the lawmaker filed the proposed measure late last year, the housing backlog stood at 3.9 million, and the country’s housing need was approximated to hit more than 6 million by 2030.
“It is proper that an integrated approach is executed by all key shelter agencies of the government (led by the DHUD) to effectively create and to seamlessly implement a national housing program, considering that the total need for new houses is 6.2 million by 2030, with 345,941 housing units needed to be constructed every year,” said Angara, vice chair of the Senate finance committee.
He said the DHUD shall be the primary body of the national government responsible for the management of housing and urban development.
“It shall be the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for all housing and urban development concerns, primarily focusing on the access to and affordability of basic human needs,” Angara said, quoting a portion of section 4 of the bill.
However, the senator emphasized, the department will not be a “do-it-all” agency as it shall formulate policies for national housing and urban development in coordination and consultation with local government units and other stakeholders, and in consisten t with the Philippine Development Plan.