By Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza | Business World
THE SENATE has approved on third and final reading a priority bill creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
With 16 affirmative votes and one abstention, Senate Bill 3199 or “An Act Creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Defining the Mandates, Powers, and Functions, Providing Funds Therefor and for other purposes” was approved yesterday.
The department will be created by consolidating the current functions of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the planning and regulatory functions of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
The proposed department “shall be the sole and main planning and policy-making regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for all housing and urban development.”
The HLURB will be converted into the Adjudication Commission for Housing, Land Use and Urban Development. “The bill shall address the increasing demand for urban poor housing, regulate urban growth and prevent deterioration of the environment,” Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., urban planning, housing and resettlement committee chairman, said in a statement yesterday.
The department will be responsible in formulating effective and efficient housing finance policies and programs, conducting comprehensive studies and researches, and building and maintaining a database necessary for housing and urban development.
The counterpart bill, House Bill 6231 “Creation of Department of Housing and Urban Development is awaiting second reading approval at the House of Representatives.
The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council has listed SB 3199 as a priority bill because of the country’s huge housing backlog.
Statistics cited by the office of Mr. Marcos showed that as of December, there are 580,000 families of informal settlers. Of that number, 105,000 families are living in disaster prone areas. Senator Manuel “Manny” B. Villar Jr. abstained from voting due to his business interests in housing and real estate.
Meanwhile, the Senate also approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to protect the interest of consumers against unfair sales and practices and to ensure the safe supply of meat and meat food products.
Voting 17-0, senators approved Senate Bill 2746 or “An Act Requiring the Labelling of Meat and Meat Food Products.”
“Imported meat and meat food product imported into the Philippines shall bear or shall be accompanied by labelling that identifies the place of origin of the animal that is the source of the imported carcass, or part thereof or meat that is part of the contents of the imported meat food product,” the bill states.
The bill will require a 20% of the collected fees, fines and charges collected by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to be used for the improvement of its monitoring services. Violators will pay a fine of P10,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months.