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CREBA reappeals for amendments on Philippine housing bills by Jillian CariolaPublished: May 26, 2014Updated: December 2, 2014

In order to make home buying financially easier, CREBA is once again proposing several changes to present bills regarding balanced housing in the country.

Are you one of the millions of Filipinos who presently do not own a home? The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) is working on it, but they’re going to need help from the government to get the ball rolling.

One of CREBA’s main concerns since its founding over 40 years ago was how to improve socialized housing in the hopes of giving Filipinos the chance to have a home. But because focus and action from the government has resulted to very little progress, the association has been monitoring several bills (The National Land Use Bill, The Balanced Housing Program Amendment, The Department of Housing Bill, and The Local Housing Board Bill), and have proposed changes that will help move things along.

That was June 2013 and things haven’t changed much, according to CREBA national chairman Charlie A.V. Goyareb.

"We are again presenting the same issues once more, but the tediousness of the entire legislative processes has often rendered efforts for the passage of these bills to be very difficult if not disappointing," he noted, also pointing out that their proposal to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) back in 1993 has yet to be approved.

To catch you up on the things that CREBA is hoping the government will act on soon, here are their proposed amendments to the bills:

1. To include condominiums in the balanced housing coverage and reduce the compliance quota
CREBA believes that reducing the quota from 20% to 15% for subdivisions and a cap of 5% for condos will make it easier for developers to comply.

2. For the actual delivery of socialized housing to the poor
CREBA underscores its position that any alternative mode of compliance to the socialized housing quota must be geared towards actual addition to the housing stock to help ease the supply and demand gap.

This includes: (a) Development of new settlements; (b) Joint-venture initiatives between a real estate developer and either the local government units; any of the key shelter agencies; or with another developer; and (c) Development of socialized medium-rise condominium buildings (MRBs).

3. To create a multi-tiered approach to socialized housing packages
CREBA likewise proposes that a new socialized housing package for MRB’s or condominiums with a minimum floor area of 20 sqm. per unit located in urban areas be created so that they, too, can qualify for tax incentives provided for under Sec. 20 of UDHA.

This is because while there exists a socialized housing package of Php450,000 per house and lot unit, such projects may only be built in rural areas due to the scarcity and high cost of land in the urban areas.

Thus, socialized housing packages must be approached on a multi-tiered basis, with price ceilings determined by HUDCC, and updated every five (5) years in consultation with NEDA.

4. For BIR to dispense ruling requirement on a per project basis
But the social obligation imposed by law is not without a corresponding obligation on the part of the government. Hence, the superfluous and repetitive requirement for a BIR ruling for every project that is built must finally be dispensed with.

To CREBA’s mind, the additional requirement defeats the very purpose for which the tax incentives were made available to developers, which is to encourage more players to undertake mass housing projects, and thus increase economic activities, mass housing being the major pump-primer of the economy. The additional taxes generated by heightened activity in the construction and real estate industries would also be good for job generation and the fiscal coffers.

Instead, we appeal that a provision in Sec. 20 of UDHA be added whereby BIR shall accept the Socialized Housing Certification issued by the HLURB as the only requirement for the issuance of the CAR and TCL to the Registry of Deeds.

CREBA believes that working with the legislature to enact these amendments will result in “a more vibrant and robust housing sector for all”.

 

Photo by Ash Kyd/Flickr Creative Commons

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