LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday expressed confidence that the passage of a bill seeking to create a Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) will address the basic housing needs and requirements of Filipino families, including of Yolanda survivors.
“The passage of this bill will further boost President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to give every Filipino family a dignified and affordable housing, including calamity victims especially the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda,” said Romualdez. “Let us work together in the quickest and most direct route to achieve this goal.”
Romualdez, a vice chairperson of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization, was referring to House Bill (HB) No. 6775 principally authored by Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez that members of the House of Representatives approved on Tuesday on third and final reading.
Benitez, who successfully defended the proposal on the floor, said HB No. 6775 tasks the DHSUD to be a single point of accountability for housing policies and projects, and allow for a unified direction and consolidated efforts to make decent housing affordable and accessible to every Filipino family.
“We are grateful for our colleagues who have supported this measure and for the President for also including this measure in his priority bills for the 17th Congress. We are very fortunate that the administration recognizes the importance of providing decent and affordable shelters to our fellow Filipinos,” said Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, a co-author of the proposal, said the measure shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlements and urban development.
“This bill will help appropriate funds to build adequate housing units, potable water, electricity and other basic needs of many Filipino families,” said Abu.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte said the government through the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) should establish a Resilient Housing and Human Resettlements program for disaster survivors.
Villafuerte sought the HUDCC’s formulation of the National Framework for Resilient Human Settlements, as most of the Yolanda survivors have remained in makeshift tents and substandard bunkhouses with no access to potable water and electricity.
“At least 30 more destructive tropical cyclones have rocked the country since Super Typhoon Yolanda but complete rehabilitation of survivors remains elusive,” said Villafuerte, author of HB No. 6040 or the proposed Resilient Housing and Human Settlements Act which seeks to institute a national framework on resilient housing and human settlements.
Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, another co-author, said the country needed to develop a holistic approach to the housing sector.
“Decent, affordable housing – one of the people’s most basic of needs but unfortunately, rarely cheap and mostly unavailable,” Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila development, explained.
Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, another co-author of the measure, said the bill is a step towards providing decent and affordable housing to every Filipino family at the soonest possible time and in the least cumbersome manner as mandated under the 1987 Constitution.
According to Benitez, the current Republic Act (RA) No. 7279 or the Urban Development Housing Act has apparently overlooked the enormous demands in the housing sector.