Department of Housing One Step Away from Reality

senate_facade-300x200On July 24, the bill creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development was approved by the Senate on third and final reading. This means that after the two Houses of Congress shall have worked out the disagreeing provisions on their respective versions, the President’s signature–or his inaction–will be all it takes to create this new line Department in the national government. President Noynoy Aquino’s signature, however, is likely to be expected since the bill has been expressly endorsed by the President as one of his priority legislations at the 111th Legislative-Executive Advisory Council meeting in 2011.

The proposed department, or the DHUD, shall be “the sole planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination, and performance monitoring entity for housing and urban development”, said Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlements.

Senator Bongbong Marcos explained: “The basic organizational structure of the DHUD combines the policy-making functions of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the regulatory functions of the present Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). As with other line departments, the DHUD shall set up regional offices all around the country. The government corporations involved in housing, namely, the National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), shall be attached to the Department for policy and program coordination, monitoring and evaluation. The adjudicatory functions of the present HLURB shall be spun off to a new independent body, which shall likewise be attached to the Department.”

Presented to the plenary for voting, the DHUD bill garnered 16 yeas and 0 nays from the Senators, with one abstention. Senator Manuel Villar registered the lone vote of abstention.

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