HOUSING MATTERS

By: Eduardo D. Del Rosario – @inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 3:47 AM January 01, 2022

As we enter our third year, we at the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) are highly optimistic of our 2022 direction of ensuring the resiliency and sustainability of the Philippine housing and urban development sector, despite the limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.

With our key shelter and attached agencies and in close collaboration with the private sector, we look forward to the positive impact of our latest policy issuances aimed at sustaining vibrancy in the whole sector.

We closed 2021 by approving three Department Orders (DOs), namely, DO-2021-008 or guidelines in the issuance of temporary license to sell to private developers; DO-2021-009 which allows the extension of the period of completion of projects; and DO-2021-010 which adopts and implements the BALAI Filipino Public Rental Housing as alternative secure housing tenure.

Temporary license to sell

DO No. 2021-008 authorizes the issuance of a Temporary License to Sell (TLS) which will allow developers to sell lots and units even with the pending issuance of permits and clearances—such as building permits, environmental compliance certificates and verified survey returns, among other documents—from local and national government agencies.

It is important to note, however, that the TLS will only be effective for a period of one year from the date of issuance. Hence, developers must still attend to the processing of the required documents before the expiration of the TLS.

Developers applying for TLS must submit proofs of pending applications including transmittals duly received by concerned national and local government agencies/units, and the developers’ notarized undertaking guaranteeing the refund of all amounts paid by the buyers in the event that the TLS expires. This is just one of the safeguards included in the DO which are meant to protect the interests of homebuyers.

More notably, the issuance of TLS likewise allows the sustained production of housing units, thus, ensuring continuity of the sector’s pump-priming activities especially since 80 industries are related to housing construction.

Extension

Meanwhile, DO No. 2021-009 provides an additional year to complete all projects duly registered and licensed with the agency and the defunct Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

In 2020, the housing department also issued DO No. 2020-009, which provided an additional year in the completion time of projects affected by the stoppage of developments due to quarantine protocols. These lockdowns, however, remained in place this year, thereby causing delays in some development projects and leaving buyers without access to their purchased property despite the extension. This prompted DHSUD to extend the completion period by another year.

Moreover, this serves as another beacon for developers and homebuyers as it provides a uniform procedure for the automatic grant of the one-year additional extension, which is also applicable for the construction and delivery of housing and condominium units as agreed upon by the two parties.

Secure housing tenure

DO No. 2021-010 is perhaps the most exciting of the recently ratified policies as it adopts and implements the BALAI Filipino Public Rental Housing as an alternative secure housing tenure.

This promotes the BALAI Filipino program as a way to address the need of providing adequate housing for Filipinos in well-planned communities as this program is anchored on the development of public housing units for renters or lessees.BALAI Filipino is touted to significantly close the housing gap, especially among low-income families while providing them with a stable and healthy living environment with livelihood opportunities. The program also engages funders and production arms in ensuring that only quality, resilient, sustainable and affordable housing units are produced.

This will be implemented and supervised by the DHSUD and its attached agencies in close partnership with LGUs and state owned universities and colleges.

Relentless efforts

As they say, harmony is a feeling derived from being whole and complete. It is essential to maintain quality of life and work. And the DHSUD, for almost three years now, has been relentless in sustaining its efforts to protect and support the two vital components in the advancement and vibrancy of the Philippine housing and urban development sector—homebuyers and developers.

These department orders are just some of the many policies implemented by the DHSUD to effectively balance the interests and welfare of all housing stakeholders, and many are still up for issuance in 2022. After all, we in the housing sector consider shelter as a right of every Filipino family. From our DHSUD family to yours, a prosperous New Year to all!

This article is first published in Philippine Daily Inquirer