Press Release
January 25, 2016

Senate moves to provide more options for homeless Filipinos

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to provide more opportunities for underprivileged and homeless Filipinos to own homes from private subdivisions and condominium projects.

Senate Bill No. 2947, entitled "An Act Strengthening The Balanced Housing Development Program, sponsored by Senator JV Ejercito, amends Republic Act No. 7279, as amended by RA No. 9397, otherwise known as The Urban Development and Housing Act Of 1992.

According to Ejercito, SBN 2947 seeks to expand the coverage of the Balanced Housing Development Program of the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) by including "residential condominium units" in the provision of socialized housing. Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the measure is meant to strengthen RA 9397 and "make available decent housing and basic services closer to the country's urban poor and other underprivileged sectors." Under the measure, developers are required to allot an area for socialized housing equivalent to 15 percent of the total subdivision area or total subdivision cost for subdivision developers, and 5 percent of the condominium area or project cost for condominium developers.

"Under our current law, only developers of proposed subdivision projects or horizontal development projects are required to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least 20 percent of the total subdivision area or total subdivision project cost, at the option of the developer, within the same city or municipality, whenever feasible," Ejercito said.

"It is disturbing to learn that we have a 5.5 million housing backlog in the country. This measure is a definite step to strengthen the cooperation and coordination between the government and the private sector so that we can solve the housing backlog, and ultimately lessen the number of informal settlers in the country, Ejercito said.

According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and Homeless International, around 22.8 million of the country's population live in slum areas, 1.2 million of which are children. This means that the housing backlog could rise to 12.5 million units by 2030, Ejercito said.

The measure recommends the inclusion of a penalty for violation of its provision. A fine of not less than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos P500, 000 but not more than P10 Million for the first offense and cancellation of license to do business for the second offense shall be imposed for its violation.

"The inclusion of condominium unit developers to allocate at least 5% of their total project area or project cost for socialized housing will help surge the number of houses to be built for the poor. In this way, it will in turn help cut the massive shortage that the housing sector is facing," Ejercito also said. (Yvonne A. Almirañez)

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