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Housing backlog to ease with new law vs red tape

THE MEASURE granting the President the power to reduce red tape during emergencies such as the pandemic will help address the backlog in socialized housing, a legislator said.

“It’s time to take bolder steps in streamlining transactions in the housing sector,” Northern Samar Representative Paul R. Daza said at an event organized by the Anti-Red Tape Authority Monday.

Mr. Daza said the estimated housing backlog of 6.57 million units will be difficult to clear with no streamlining of the permit process.

He noted that it takes about 27 agencies, 78 permits, 146 signatures, and 373 documents to start a socialized housing project.

“My hope is that we can streamline transactions in the sector hopefully leading to only three months and not more than six months of processing,” he said.

Mr. Daza, who expressed support for the proposed budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development during plenary deliberations at the House, said the lack of government spending for the housing sector also affects the economy.

“In a healthy economy, the housing sector should roughly be 20% of domestic growth. In the Philippines, the contribution was roughly 11% in 2018,” Mr. Daza said, noting that the government allocated only 0.78% of the national budget to the housing sector over the past 12 years.

“While DPWH is allocated P667 billion, which is equivalent to 14.8% of the 2021 national budget — the housing sector is allocated P3.98 billion only,” he said.

Mr. Daza said decent housing is correlated with “better health, peace and order, and higher productivity.”

“The belief that housing comes after development must change; instead, we need to think of housing as a precursor to development,” he said, citing Singapore, which has an extensive system of public housing.

“In Singapore, socialized housing is at the bedrock of the economy. Singapore responded to their housing requirements by building ‘in-city’ and affordable mass housing, enabling families to spend more time for work and recreation because their homes are within close proximity of work and schools,” he said.

House Bill No. 7884, which amends the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, was passed by the House Friday after it had been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The measure empowers the President to streamline the requirements for national and local permits, certifications, and licenses. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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Article and Photo originally posted by Business World last October 19, 2020, 7:04am.

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