MANILA- Former President and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is proposing the creation of a Department of Housing and Urban Development to address the 5.7 million in housing backlog and to consolidate the functions of "key shelter agencies" in the country.
House Bill No. 1518 will consolidate the functions and powers of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Guarantee Corporation (HGC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), National Housing Authority (NHA), and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
Arroyo said the proposed department will streamline, coordinate and rationalize the existing housing agencies to adequately address the housing needs and requirements of the Filipino family.
"(T)here are problems in streamlining the bureaucracy and in confronting the efforts of said agencies. These concerns do not work toward the full and timely implementation of the government's national housing program. The ultimate goal is to provide decent and affordable houses to every Filipino family at the soonest possible time and at the least cumbersome manner," she said.
The Pampanga representative also wants to centralize housing services through the establishment of Social Housing One-Stop Processing Centers (SHOPCs) in all administrative regions of the country.
The SHOPC will be responsible for the centralized processing and issuance of all required housing-related permits, clearances, and licenses.
Under Arroyo's proposed law, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will consolidate the HUDCC and HLURB and will act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing and urban development while the existing housing agencies will be considered attached agencies.
The Secretary of Housing , in a concurrent capacity, will also serve as the chairperson of their respective boards.
Arroyo said the agencies shall continue to function according to existing laws and their respective charters. However, each of the heads of the attached agencies shall enter into a performance contract annually with the Secretary which shall embody the national targets on housing and urban development and the overall administration of the agency.
The reorganization, merger, streamlining of functions, abolition, or privatization of any attached government-owned and/or -controlled corporation (GOCC) shall be implemented with the concurrence of the Secretary pursuant to the law protecting the security of tenure of government workers.
Under Arroyo's proposal, the HLURB shall be reconstituted as the Human Settlements Adjudicatory Commission (HSAC) to operate as an independent commission within the department and shall be composed of the Secretary and nine full time commissioners with a fixed term of six years.
The term of the incumbent Commissioners shall be respected however.
The HSAC will be a quasi-judicial body with original and exclusive jurisdiction over all issues and controversies arising from the interpretation and implementation of Republic Act No. 7279 or the "Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992".
Arroyo however assured that the present career employees of the HUDCC and the HLURB will enjoy security of tenure and shall be absorbed by the Department, in accordance with its staffing pattern and selection process unless they are separated from the service by virtue of the reorganization resulting from the proposed bill, or choose and are qualified to retire from service.