The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the establishment of a regional office in Tacloban City of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to supervise its housing projects in the region.
The RDC also wants the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to set up a regional office in the city, among cities ravaged by Super-typhoon Yolanda.
The RDC is pushing for the setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
Lawyer Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling is president of the SHFC, the lead agency implementing the government’s socialized housing program.
Lloyd Christopher Lao is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the HLURB, the primary agency mandated to provide technical assistance in the preparation, review, and approval of Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of local government units.
Eastern Visayas’ highest policy-making body sent the resolutions approved on June 21, 2019, to the Office of the President and to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
But the RDC is still waiting for the central government’s response on the resolutions requesting for the establishment of regional offices of the two government agencies.
National Economic and Development Authority regional director Meylene Rosales, the RDC’s vice-chairperson, however said that they are upbeat on the positive response of the President Rodrigo Duterte and HUDCC chairman Eduardo del Rosario.
The RDC pushed for setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
“There was an issue raised on the alleged irregular collection of fees from the beneficiaries of the government’s permanent housing project implemented through SHFC. The major factor behind this was the absence of their field office here in the region to monitor projects,” Rosales said in a report in the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Early this year, hundreds of housing beneficiaries have filed cases against a community housing organizer and her accomplices for overpricing of land acquisition, non-remittance of payments, and illegal collection of fees from recipients housing projects funded by SHFC.
Meanwhile, the absence of HLURB regional office has slowed down the pace of housing projects due to the lack of personnel and absence of authority to monitor and resolve issues and approve plans and applications for clearances and licenses.
“RDC members agreed that the presence of a fully staffed HLURB and SHFC offices in the region is important to regulate and monitor the implementation of remaining Yolanda resettlement projects and other ongoing and future housing projects,” Rosales said.
The HLURB regional office in this city has stopped its operation in 2010 after the merger of two field offices in Cebu and Tacloban due to the implementation of the Government Rationalization Program.
The agency has been maintaining a desk at the Government Service Insurance System office in this city to answer public queries. All transactions from the region have to go through the regional office in Cebu City.
All development and constructions on land of towns and cities without the CLUP will have to get the approval of the HLURB office in Cebu.
As of 2018, only 85 percent of the region’s 143 towns and cities have approved CLUPs.