Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District), Committee on Housing and Urban Development chairman, yesterday lauded the House of Representative's approval on third and final reading of House Bill 6775 or the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development bill.
House Bill 6775, which Benitez co-authored, seeks to create a department that would be a single point of accountability for housing policies and projects, and allow for unified direction and consolidated efforts to make decent housing affordable and accessible to every Filipino family, he said.
“We are grateful to our colleagues who have supported this measure and for the President for also including this measure in his priority bills for the 17 th Congress. We are very fortunate that the administration recognizes the importance of providing decent and affordable shelters to our fellow Filipinos”, he added.
Benitez said the title of the bill was changed from Department of Housing to Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to capture the contents of the proposed policy.
House Bill 6775 aims for a paradigm shift on how the government views shelter delivery, he said.
Instead of just building houses, the government shelter programs should also consider access to basic needs such as livelihood, transportation, education and health, Benitez said.
“It is not just about putting a roof over the head, but about building homes and building communities”, Benitez added.
Providing decent and affordable homes, as enshrined in the Constitution, is a mandate of the government, he said.
“However, it has been years since we have had a single agency to plan and implement the government shelter programs. What we have are different shelter agencies that are coordinating under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council which resulted to a more fragmented housing program and policy direction,” Benitez said.
Benitez said by 2050, more than half of the country's population will be living in the cities and yet, there is no government entity that develops a sustainable urban planning that integrates housing.
The Department of Human Settlements is also envisioned to take on this important role, he said.
Among the proposed mandates of the Department of Human Settlements is to develop and implement urban renewal programs, own and administer government idle lands that are suitable for housing, identify lands that may be used for socialized housing sites, planning and establishment of government centers as well as new townships in urban centers, he said.
“We are optimistic that the Senate will pass their counterpart measure soon. The urgent passage of the Department of Human Settlements bill is an important step towards supporting Filipino families in having decent affordable homes. It signals the government's sincere effort to invest in the ultimate dream of every Filipino household to own their own homes,” Benitez added.*
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