Stakeholders push for law uplifting property sector

Notable groups in the country’s real estate industry have recently ushered proposals to lawmakers in the House of Representatives that will further alleviate their industry, serving as their bread and butter for decades now.

One Filipinos Worldwide Partylist Representative Marissa Del Mar-Magsino and Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez discussing recommendations from the housing industry stakeholders. | Photographs courtesy of HoR Media

In a meeting with One Filipinos Worldwide Representative Marissa Del Mar-Magsino and Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez, also the chairperson of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, officials of the four big housing organizations — National Real Estate Association, Subdivision and Housing Development Association, Chamber of Real Estate & Builders Association, Inc., and the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines, ushered the lawmakers in their requests in crafting legislative measures that will benefit the real estate industry.

Officials of housing industry associations National Real Estate Association, Subdivision and Housing Development Association, Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association Inc. and the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines during their visit to the House of Representatives.

NREA board chairman Ricky Celis told lawmakers that there is a need to amend the National Land Use Act, sending his groups inputs in tweaking the aging law, including the provision of sound criteria in
land-use conversion/reclassification and restrictions, ensuring private sector representation and participation in relevant planning and decision-making committees/groups and mandate of the law to be lodged under a Neutral Executive Branch Agency.

According to Rep. Magsino, she has been hearing and accepting suggestions from the real industry for the need to amend the National Land Use Act, which has been pending since the late 90s.

“It has been exhaustively debated upon and reported out by the committee, but thereon struggled in the process until time ran out in each Congress. We have yet to elect a chairperson for the Special Committee on Land Use, but with chairperson for the Special Committee on Housing and Urban Development, I am hopeful that we have a reliable champion for our industry,” she said.

Earlier, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, as well as Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and other lawmakers, backed NREA for amending the Land Use Bill, among other policy measures that would harmonize and integrate conflicting housing laws, policies, principles, and guidelines, echoing the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address.

NREA board chairperson Celis and his group also wanted the Lower House to amend Batas Pambansa 220 and Republic Act 10884, among other laws governing socialized and economic housing; amendments to Presidential Decree 957 that regulates the sale of subdivision and condominiums; amendments to various laws that will ease and improve current business environment; and the proposal for Transit Oriented Developments, which encourage the Department of Transportation, as well as Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to officially adopt TOD as a development policy in conjunction with the implementation of mass public transport systems such as rail, river ferry, airports and seaports, among others.

photograph courtesy of unsplash/oj serrano

The housing industry leaders also put forward their comments and suggestions on what the housing sector truly needs in terms of policy direction and support, which include harmonization of laws, alignment of real property valuation regulations, issues on access to land, transport-oriented development, adjustment of price ceiling for socialized housing, accessible financing, and rental housing.
For his part, Rep. Benitez has aired his commitment to ensuring that every Filipino has access to adequate housing.

“There are many things that need to be done. Although proposed laws regarding housing were not able to be passed as law as they did not reach the Senate, rest assured that we will file those measures in the 19th Congress, particularly the National Land Use Act,” he stressed.
Expanding housing production

Meanwhile, the SHDA chairman George Siy, during his courtesy call to Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Jose Acuzar, shared what the new administration aims to achieve for the housing industry in the next six years.

“We fully support the President’s appointment of Secretary Jose Acuzar as the new head of the DHSUD and his vision of considerably accelerating Filipinos’ access to affordable shelters and entering new approaches to urban development throughout the country. We look forward to working with him, in exploring these inspiring ideas, as well as in streamlining processes and policies already started for housing and real estate in the country,” SHDA national president May Rodriguez said.

According to Siy, the DHSUD is the quarterback department in both the management of housing needs and the organized urban development of the country.

SHDA identified that access to land, additional affordable forms of finance, and policies on vertical development, are some of the keys to expanding the production of housing. This is also in line with the adoption of a rationalized National Land Use Plan that President Marcos Jr. had mentioned in his State of the Nation Address.

SHDA noted that a National Land Use Plan, with some balancing of the concerns of different sectors, preparation or updates at the national and local levels, would help organize and speed up development by both the government and the private sector in projects throughout the country.

SHDA identified the rationalization of licensing and permitting process as an important priority, and the digitization of the required submissions and payments systems to government offices, and data sharing, would greatly reduce the cost and time required for doing business, and redound to a more affordable cost of housing.

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