In my last column, I discussed the government’s framework to develop sustainable and resilient human settlements through the collaboration of the national government, the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector in formulating a multi-sectoral plan called Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). This serves as a land use guide to regulate the growth and development of LGUs for a period of 10 years.
The CLUP is like a macro land use plan, but in order to focus on the human settlement requirements of LGUs, a Local Shelter Plan (LSP) must also be crafted. The LSP contains an analysis of the local housing situation and problems; housing affordability level of the population; availability of land, basic services and funding; as well as shelter strategies and plan for implementation. It is a localized housing plan to support the needs of the informal settlers’ families (ISFs) or low-income families to have the opportunity of availing affordable and decent housing units.
Unfortunately, out of the 1,634 LGUs in our country, only 209 have approved LSPs, despite the technical assistance extended by the former Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to 1,571 LGUs to craft and finalize their own LSPs in previous years.
With the current situation, the challenge for the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) is to encourage cities and municipalities to update their CLUPs and finalize their LSPs for our final approval. As such, we have developed strategies like partnering with developers’ associations to undertake socialized housing projects with LGUs that have approved LSPs. This would then form part of the property developers’ socialized housing compliance.
As an additional incentive, the DHSUD will also allow the utilization of the housing escrow funds to cover the cost of land development. With reduced project costs, the expected monthly amortization to be paid by buyer-beneficiaries will be more affordable. The escrow funds can also be utilized by the LGUs and state universities and colleges (SUCs) if they intend to avail of the Department’s BALAI Rental Housing Program.
Last June 9, the Department has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) to implement LSP-initiated projects by various LGUs. The MOA promotes collaboration between the government and the private sector in building decent, affordable, sustainable and resilient socialized housing units throughout the country.
Without an approved LSP, LGUs will miss out on the opportunity to avail of this partnership to finally address the housing needs of low-income and underprivileged Filipino families who are the direct beneficiaries of Republic Act No. 11201, the law that created DHSUD which was signed by President Duterte on February 14, 2019.
How can an LGU avail of this program? Obviously, for LGUs to qualify under the socialized housing compliance of the government, an approved LSP is mandatory.
Likewise, the LGU must have available land for housing development and should have established a Local Housing Board to take the lead in all housing concerns and projects. Having complied with all these requirements, an LGU’s letter of intent to DHSUD will trigger the process of project implementation.
Finally, with both the CLUP and LSP in place, the LGU is now ready to execute its housing development plans and allow the dream of 81 percent of Filipino families to have a house of their own to become a reality.
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