IDLE GOV’T-OWNED LANDS DISPOSITION BILL APPROVED ON FINAL READING
Unused government-owned properties shall soon be utilized for more socialized housing projects as the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading House Bill 8553 or the proposed “Idle Government-Owned Lands Disposition Act.”
HB 8553, which received 202 affirmative and 5 negative votes, without abstention, seeks to prescribe the mechanisms to facilitate the disposition of these idle government lands for socialized housing purposes.
The bill, principally authored by Rep. Eric Singson (2nd District, Ilocos Sur), declares that the State shall ensure the availability of sufficient lands for socialized housing and improve the capability of local government units (LGUs) in implementing various programs on housing and urban development.
To this end, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), through the National Housing Authority (NHA), and in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), shall be mandated to prepare the inventory of all lands owned by the national government that have not been used for the purpose for which they have been acquired for the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), through the LGUs, shall be in-charge of preparing the inventory of all idle local government-owned properties within their respective areas.
The NHA, in coordination with the Land Management Bureau (LMB), shall use these inventories as references to identify the lands owned by the national government that are suitable for socialized housing.
Likewise, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board shall provide aid to the LGUs in identifying the local government-owned properties that can also be used for socialized housing purposes.
The NHA and the concerned LGUs shall be authorized to enter into a joint venture agreement with private developers as well as non-government organizations that are engaged in housing production to help implement the provisions of the bill
To promote their participation in these projects, the private sector and the NGOs shall be given incentives pursuant to Section 20 of Republic Act 7279 or the “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” on Incentives for Private Sectors Participating in Socialized Housing.
The bill further stipulates that if these properties owned by the LGUs and the national government will not be used for socialized housing, they shall be sold, transferred, or encumbered for the purpose of developing them into industrial, commercial or other similar estates.
Otherwise, at least 10 percent of their proceeds shall be set aside for the development of socialized housing projects within, adjacent, or near the affected areas in the city or municipality.
The measure further provides that segregated lands or funds from the properties owned by the national government shall be utilized by the NHA as means for expanding socialized housing projects. In addition, the LGUs shall retain the lands they own and use them exclusively for socialized housing.
The HUDCC and the DENR shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations, including the mechanisms and procedures to make the inventory as well as identify the lands suitable for socialized housing.
Co-authors of the bill are Reps. Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque), Ricardo “RJ” Belmonte (Party-list, SBP), Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6th District, Manila), Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Alfredo Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental), Jose Christopher Belmonte (6th, Quezon City), Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN), and Michael Romero, PhD. (Party-list, 1-PACMAN).
Photo from Philstar