HUDCC, SHDA forge closer partnership

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Ever since the first BALAI Kapihan was held in January this year, the partnership between the government housing sector and private developers have deepened with numerous consultations, dialogues and forums held after that. At the MOA signing between the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association held at the Manila Polo Club in Makati last Thursday, key shelter agencies ked by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council issues that have remained unsettled in the sector for so many past administrations saw some semblance of resolution.At least most of the key shelter agencies were amenable to some procedural changes that the private sector proposed to ease housing production and start narrowing the housing backlog in the country.

 

Such changes include reducing documentations before development even starts and homes constructed for selling. Such dialogues hopefully would provide lasting solutions and promote closer working ties between the public and private housing sectors that would spur faster growth for property development and spur faster economic growth.

 

The government is also able to raise funds for its socialized and low cost housing programs through private sector initiative in providing financial programs in lieu of their compliance to their commitments to build socialized houses. But all these suggested approaches to resolve he housing shortage would be formalized in the coming national housing summit on September 13 and 14 in Cagayan de Oro City. If in previous administrations the private sector has had difficulty conveying their recommendations and suggestions on how to improve their sector, the doors have been flung wide open between the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Committee (HUDCC) and the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA). With the launch of the quarterly BALAI Kapihan forum in January – a no holds-barred but friendly exchange – a hopeful conversation begins anew between these erstwhile adversarial partners.

 

BALAI stands for building accessible, livable, affordable and inclusive homes for the Filipino family – well aligned with the Duterte administration’s slogan to ensure that no one is denied access to a livable house that he can afford and be proud of. BALAI is in fact the roadmap for this administration’s housing program for both the homeless and displaced Filipinos (displaced by calamities and other exigencies).

 

Recurring issues—discussed in summit after summit with resolutions, but remain unacted on by government—have been taken up, hopefully with finality as the current HUDCC Chair, Eduardo del Rosario has vowed to take them up with higher authorities. The breakfast forum is also a good venue for the private sector to listen and hear what other key shelter agencies (KSAs) have to say on certain challenges of government. Discussions regarding adjustments, policies, process and even manpower in addressing the concerns of the private sector will be undertaken, said SHDA president Chris Narciso. Gen. del Rosario stresses that both private and public sectors must unite in addressing the concerns on housing needs of almost 6 million Filipinos nationwide.

 

Issues

 

An issue that has to be discussed revolves around land conversion. Agricultural lands classified as residential under the CLUP should no longer be required by the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform to have land conversion clearances. The HUDCC can intervene on behalf of SHDA through a memorandum of agreement among HUDCC, DA, DAR, the Department of Interior and Local Government, Land Registration Authority and the League of Cities and Municipalities. The SHDA is proposing that the MOA should include updating of CLUPs every five years, if need be through an executive order by the president.

 

Del Rosario, however, clarified that a new rule crafted last December and established last January does not require land conversion permits anymore, provided that the particular lot is considered by the updated CLUP as residential. In which case, there is no need for a conversion permit anymore. A technical working group will be formed to craft the MOA.

 

The second issue is on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ruling for tax exempt socialized housing projects and low cost housing projects authorized by the Board of Investments. The BIR ruling requirement takes 12 up to 24 months to be issued. HUDCC’s help is being sought to ask the BIR to relax its ruling requirement for low- cost housing as certified by the HLURB. A MOA to this effect will be crafted within two to three months.

 

The third issue is on the proposal to amend the rule on socialized housing compliance as developers can’t sell their developed condominiums or subdivisions unless they have complied with the socialized housing requirements. Part of the solutions to these issues involve forming technical working groups with the KSAs and other government agencies regulating lands, taxes and exemptions as well as condominium ownership to flesh out these issues and come up with MOAs that would henceforth govern the regulatory environment to ensure that land and home development could proceed more easily and smoothly.

It is hoped that the coming BALAI Kapihan forums will enable more concrete and workable solutions for both public and private housing sectors so that the housing backlog of 7 million units can be addressed in a shorter time frame.