Press Release
September 20, 2017

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development

By Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

I stand before you today to sponsor a bill that will forever change our housing and urban development landscape. As we carry on with our task of building safe and secure communities for the Filipino families, this measure will significantly impact the provision of every Filipino's basic right to housing that has long been neglected.

As Chairman of the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, it is my honor to sponsor Senate Bill No. 1578 under Committee Report No. 162. entitled, "AN ACT CREATING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT". This bill is in substitution to Senate Bills No. 37, 232, 328, 952, 1139 and 1182 authored by Senators Legarda, Drilon, Pacquiao, Angara, Villanueva, Gatchalian, and this representation. The said bills have been considered, studied and deliberated upon, taking into consideration the inputs from the key shelter agencies, government and private sector representative and other stakeholders concerned.

Mr. President, for the last thirty years, we have been deprived of a rational and systematic way of addressing our nation's housing needs. While numerous housing programs have been implemented by the government, it seems that these programs are like a type of house, all "SINGLE DETACHED". There is no clear integration of programs and plans of the existing key shelter agencies.

Mr. President, since the abolition of the Ministry of Human Settlements, the housing sector, from one solid department that seemed like one big meteor was suddenly blown up in pieces - struggling to make sense of its housing programs with different agencies vying for effective coordination and budget allocation.

The dissolution of the Ministry of Human Settlements in 1986 resulted to the creation of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). Up to the present, HUDCC remained as the lead agency for housing and urban development. Even so, if we look closer at HUDCC's functions and mandate, it only exercise administrative supervision and coordination of the activities of the key government housing agencies in the national housing program. HUDCC lacks the mandate and organizational setup to manage a national urban and shelter policy. HUDCC is a far cry from being that kind of a lead agency expected to perform the humongous task of directing the country's centerpiece program for shelter and poverty alleviation.

Considering that the Philippines is emerging as one of the most populous countries in the world, the constitutional provision of providing a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas remains unfulfilled.

We continue to be challenged with problems of overcrowding, restrictions in unlocking land for human settlements, lack of an efficient transport system, increasing number of homeless people and multiplying families living in slums, riverbanks and danger zones.

Currently, Mr. President, the Philippines is facing more than 2 million housing needs for this year and can swell up to 6,571,387 by the end of 2022. Natural disasters continue to ravage the countryside and flood cities, leaving hundreds of families each year with damaged houses. Recently, the Marawi City siege, after being attacked by ISIS-inspired terrorists, has already caused an estimated 351,168 Internally Displaced Persons. With their houses bombed, one can only imagine the magnitude of houses we must build again while still in the midst of rebuilding for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, the recent earthquakes and the almost forgotten Zamboanga siege.

Mr. President, my colleagues, I am positive you will agree with me that now in our country's history, we need to reiterate that this government must uphold the people's right to adequate, decent and affordable shelter in safe and secure communities. And the best way to do this is to create the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development that will be more efficient and systematic in addressing the quagmire of issues affecting housing and urban development. A fully-fledged department is what our country needs today. Mr. President, what WE NEED is ONE HOUSING DEPARTMENT with ONE BOARD and working towards ONE DIRECTION, creating the roadmap for housing and urban development, leading its implementation, setting the general direction for everyone, and able to follow through each and every project with clear functions, policies, budget and financing.


The proposed creation of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development will consolidate the administrative functions of the HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL (HUDCC) and the planning and regulatory functions of the HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD (HLURB). The Department will act as the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for all housing and urban development concerns, primarily focusing on the access to and affordability of decent, affordable and secure shelter. It shall be composed of the Office of the Secretary, the Bureaus of Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation, Environmental, Land Use and Urban Planning and Development, Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation, and the Homeowners Association and Community Development. Further, Regional Offices shall be established in the administrative regions of the country.

On the other hand, the adjudicatory functions of the HLURB will be exercised by the new Human Settlements Adjudication Commission (HSAC). It shall have exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving housing, land use and urban development, subdivisions, condominiums and similar real estate developments, homeowners associations, and those laws that will be implemented by the Department.

In order to address the disintegration of housing policies and plans as well as to reduce the level of bureaucracy, the bill proposed to create a NATIONAL SHELTER BOARD. The Board will be composed of the Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, the Director General of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DBM), the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the heads of the key shelter agencies, specifically the National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).

Currently, the governing boards of the key shelter agencies are operating and meeting separately. The proposed National Shelter Board will rationalize and streamline the governing Boards of the different shelter agencies to come up with a more holistic and coherent plan for the housing and urban development sector. With the creation of one single board, the mandates of the key shelter agencies will be synchronized and will ease the monitoring of activities and functions of the agencies. Under One Housing Department, all the Key Shelter Agencies will be compelled to work together, more harmoniously and connected in their vision, mission, plans and programs.

An Executive Committee, will be put in place to support the Board. To further strengthen the multi-stakeholder participation and partnerships, an Advisory Council may be organized by the Secretary, consisting of representatives from the developers' association, bankers, contractors, urban poor communities, local government units, academe, and other marginalized groups.

With the proposed reforms, the chaos of our key shelter agencies marching in different directions will definitely end, Mr. President.


Mr. President, this proposed legislation will not bring back old wounds and memories because of the stigma attached to the word "Human Settlements". It does not aim to install another layer of bureaucracy but instead, streamline bureaucracy. It is not an added layer for private developers to go through for licensing and permits. This will instead, create better systems where there will be less bureaucracy to deal with and where a "one-stop-shop processing center" for will remain a priority.

More importantly, Mr. President, the creation of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development is in line with current thrust of the administration of rightsizing. This proposed Department will ensure that there will be clear delineation in the function of the agencies involved in human settlement and urban development and will result to effective and efficient delivery of service.


In closing, I will reiterate, Mr. President. A fully-fledged department is what our country needs today. Now is the time to do the right thing. This proposal has been deliberated on in Congress for the last two decades. I hope this is the year that we will make it happen, for the Filipino people - for the homeless left by Typhoon Yolanda, the residents of Marawi whose homes have been bombed to pieces, the homeowners of Zamboanga Siege whose homes were burned to the ground, for the Lumads and other indigenous peoples, those living in danger zones, who are demanding better and sturdier homes to shield them from natural disasters, for the thousands of lowly families waiting to move to the unoccupied government and to every Filipino family who are dreaming to have their own houses. Mr. President, it is now or never and it is the authors' fervent wish that this august chamber will be the one to deliver to the people this long-overdue Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

By creating a Department for Human Settlements and Urban Development, we are not only building houses and physical structures and ensuring that each one has a roof over their head. We are paving their path out of misery and poverty. We are securing their present needs and the bright future that every Filipino deserves.

Wakasan na natin ang panahon na may kanya-kanyang boss sa mga ahensiya at kanya-kanyang politika. Tigilan na ang kanya-kanyang pagpa-plano at hatakan. Palitan na ang bulok at malabong sistema. Tigilan na ang laging gawa lang ng gawa ng pabahay sa mga liblib na lugar para lamang mabulok at hindi matirahan.

Mr. President, Human Settlements and Urban Development is an INVESTMENT - an investment to secure every Filipino family and an investment for the country's inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Thus, we must give HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND URBAN PLANNING the proper attention and priority that it deserves and bring back its stature as a Department worthy of being an integral part of our government's machinery for transformation.

In light of the foregoing, I seek your support for this long overdue, landmark legislative measure.

Maraming salamat po.

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