House panel approves bill on socialized housing program

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


THE House committee on housing and urban development passed on final reading a bill requiring the mandatory participation of owners and developers of condominium projects in the government's socialized housing program.

House Bill 4116, to be known as the Balanced Housing Development Program Amendments Act, seeks to amend Republic Act 7279, which provides for a comprehensive and continuing Urban Development and Housing Program.

Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Benitez, an author of the bill, said the proposed measure shall include the owners and developers of condominium projects among those mandated to contribute to the production of socialized housing.

He said that the bill elicits the participation of condominium owners and developers to accelerate the provision of affordable socialized housing nationwide and provide the underprivileged and homeless Filipinos the opportunity to own a house.

"The measure requires owners and developers of condominium projects to develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least 5 percent of the total condominium area," Benitez said.

The chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development added the bill amends RA 7279 by reducing the required percentage of socialized housing to be produced by the owners and developers of subdivision projects from 20 percent to at least 15 percent of the total subdivision area.

"Owners and developers of proposed socialized subdivision projects and proposed socialized condominium projects shall be exempted from the said requirements," Benitez said.

Under the measure, developers can engage in a joint-venture project with another private developer, both whom shall be solitarily liable in the production of the socialized housing in compliance with the balanced housing requirement, regardless of the provisions of their joint-venture agreement.

The measure mandates the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to jointly determine and set separate socialized housing price ceilings for socialized subdivision and socialized condominium projects to be reviewed and revised every three years to conform to prevailing economic conditions.

Benitez added the bill also mandates the HUDCC and the Neda to review and adjust the required percentage of compliance for both subdivision and condominium projects not later than the end of the fifth year from the effectivity of the measure and every five years thereafter, provided that legislation by an Act of Congress shall be resorted to if the adjustment sought is less than the minimum percentage of compliance set forth in the measure.

"The measure includes the development of educational facilities in an existing socialized housing area or within the projects or within cities or municipalities as an alternative compliance," Benitez said.

He noted that the measure prohibits approval of subdivision or condominium plan by any local government unit or government agencies unless accompanied by a written undertaking, made under oath by the owner/developer, setting forth in detail the manner in which compliance is proposed.

The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) is mandated to submit to Congress an annual report on the compliance by the owners and or developers of subdivision and condominium projects.

The proposed measure imposes a fine of not more than P10 million for the first offense and cancellation of license to do business for the second offense. (Sunnex)

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