HOUSING MATTERS

By: Eduardo D. Del Rosario@inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:10 AM November 14, 2020

Barely 10 months after we started full operations as Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), we reached another milestone with the establishment and subsequent inaugural meeting of the multi-agency National Human Settlements Board (NHSB).

We can consider NHSB as a housing “super body,” having 10 other national government agencies on board and with DHSUD at the helm. The other 10 are the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and DHSUD attached agencies, namely, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, National Housing Authority (NHA), National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC), Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC) and the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission (HSAC).

Inaugural meeting of the National Human Settlements Board (NHSB)

Synchronizing policies

The NHSB is envisioned to serve as the “nerve-center” that will synchronize and align all housing policies and programs for effective implementation—from regulation, financing and production. With these national government agencies on board, this “super body” is like a well-oiled machine moving towards one direction.

I am elated over the support and enthusiasm expressed by the NHSB member-agencies to the policy direction we have jointly agreed upon in addressing the housing need.

The Board, in fact, hit the ground running during our inaugural meeting last Oct. 29, when we approved three resolutions that will enable the body to effectively perform its mandate under Republic Act (RA) No. 11201 or the law that established DHSUD, paving the way for closer collaboration among government agencies.

Chapter V, Section 21 of RA 11202 states that the powers and functions of the attached agencies with respect to policy and program development shall be exercised by a single Board of Trustees or the NHSB. Hence, the Board shall set the policy direction of the country’s housing sector.

Resolutions

The approved resolutions were the Internal Rules of the National Human Settlements Board (NHSB Resolution No. 2020-01), the Creation of the National Human Settlements Board Technical Working Committee (NHSB Resolution No. 2020-02) and the Guidelines and Procedures for the Nomination of Stakeholders’ Representatives to the National Human Settlements Board Technical Working Committee (NHSB Resolution No. 2020-03). These three resolutions will serve as NHSB’s backbone and ensure that all proposals put forward would be studied thoroughly, and would have the corresponding support and representation from various stakeholders in housing, including the private sector.

NHSB Resolution No. 2020-01 establishes the rules that will govern the affairs of the Board and sets the procedures relating to the execution of its meetings. It also provides for the participation of stakeholders’ representatives as non-voting members and mandates the creation of a Technical Working Committee (TWC).

Resolution No. 2020-02 tasks the TWC to assist the NHSB in the review of policies and programs. The TWC is composed of representatives from member departments, attached agencies and concerned bureaus and services of the DHSUD. It also provides a venue for the participation of stakeholders’ representatives from various sectors.

Finally, NHSB Resolution No. 2020-03 outlines the guidelines and procedures for the nomination, selection and appointment of stakeholders’ representatives to the TWC. It sets the criteria for screening of nominees and identifies the relevant sectors that must be represented, such as private real estate developers, academe, federation of homeowners’ associations and civil society organizations or people’s organizations.

All hands on board

Together, the NHSB and its TWC make a formidable and well-rounded body that will set the tone and direction of the Philippine housing sector for years to come.

With practically all hands on board, I am very optimistic that the disconnect between the Philippine Development Plan with regards to housing targets and the corresponding budgetary allocation of DHSUD will be adequately addressed.