TO COUNTER housing industry bottlenecks, Cabinet Secretary and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chief Leoncio Evasco Jr. announced on Friday, March 17 during the Grand National Housing Summit in SMX Convention Center, Lanang, Davao City that a memorandum on creating a composite team will be released immediately to monitor and follow up on issues raised by the industry players. He said the team will be composed of representatives from key shelter agencies and his office.
“This composite team will follow up all the issues and concerns tackled during the summit,” he said in a press conference after the event. He emphasized that the theme will primarily focus on four areas categorized by the government where there are constraints that make the implementation of various housing programs slacken.
HUDCC assistant secretary Clarence Pascual elaborated that the four areas listed down are issues on financial, permits and documentation, legal, and technical. For technical issues, listed concerns are confusing and contradicting building standards and Fire Code of the Philippines, requirement of retention pond, rainwater catchment, and additional greening space, preparation, implementation and updating of Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and industry-wide data generation on housing, among others.
“For financial aspects, the tax reform initiatives affecting real estate, incentives, housing loans, others are identified while for permits and documentation, it centers on issues concerning the processing of clearances, permits, shortening the processing time and speeding up all the clearances required in the industry,” Pascual said.
On the legal aspect, developers brought the issues on implementation of the socialized condominiums, socialized housing compliance and amendment of the Real Estate Service Act. Evasco, in a speech, underscored that the Duterte administration’s key agenda for the housing sector is to increase affordable housing production as well as bring down the cost of houses. He noted that some private developers expressed dismay with the government for the delays in permits, as well as inconsistencies in policies that hamper their housing production. On average, developers said it takes a year and a half to comply with all the documents needed before they can start building.
Other key concerns raised by developers were the two-year moratorium on agricultural land conversions, imminent removal of value-added tax exemptions on low-cost and socialized housing, and delisting of houses above P2 million from the government’s proposed Investment Priorities Plan 2017-2019. Organization for Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines national president Marcelino Mendoza, said private developers commit to double its production for this year from 250,000 housing units built last year to 500,000 housing units to answer the country’s housing backlog at 5.6 million.