The country’s largest organization of key real estate and housing industry players said the passage of Republic Act 10884 or the Balanced Housing Program Amendment Act which lapsed into law last year is a huge step towards curbing the housing backlog estimated by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to be at least 5.7 million units nationwide.
In the past three Congresses, the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) pushed for the passage of the law to provide “decent, affordable homes for employees in urban areas nationwide” as part of its five-point agenda for housing which aims to intensify housing production, particularly to the millions of homeless poor, to the level of 500,000 units every year for the next 20 years, or 10 million homes in two decades.
The law, according to CREBA national president Charlie A.V. Gorayeb, will make current housing laws work by ridding the original Urban Development and Housing Act, also known as Republic Act 7279 of 1992, of the stumbling blocks to socialized housing production.
“Section 18 of UDHA which set forth the balanced housing program mandated subdivision developers to build socialized housing equivalent to 20 percent of their total project area or cost. Owners and developers of condominium projects were exempted, thus measures were filed in the 16th Congress to include them,” said Gorayeb.
“But to CREBA, the old 20 percent quota was unrealistic to effectively elicit compliance. The reduction of the quotas to 15 percent for subdivisions and five percent for condominiums through R.A. 10884 now makes it feasible,” Gorayeb pointed out.
CREBA supported the bill to encourage medium-rise socialized condominiums in urban area nationwide to lessen workers’ daily suburban commute and traffic congestion, while optimizing land use, manpower productivity and business efficiency.
However, CREBA national chairman Noel Toti M. Carino says that the law’s implementing rules should offer no alternative modes of compliance with the quota aside from those expressly stated in the law: such as development of new settlements; joint-venture initiatives between two real estate developers or with either local government units or housing agencies; and community mortgage program.
“Any alternative compliance not yielding new housing units should not be allowed or encouraged,” he explained.
The two CREBA leaders said that the clear mandate of R.A. 10884 that the socialized housing certification issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board shall be sufficient for availment of tax exemption from the Bureau of Internal Revenue will bring big relief to real estate developers all over the country.
The group also finds the law’s passage a golden opportunity to promote long-term, affordable home loans by updating the socialized and economic housing categories.
It earlier proposed a homebuyers’ lending scheme payable in 25 or more years, where loans for residential subdivisions or medium-rise condominium units shall be P1,500,000 and below at three percent fixed interest rate for socialized housing, and more than P1,500,000 up to P3,199,200 at four percent for economic housing.
The new law will be a key issue at the 26th CREBA annual national convention from Oct. 25-28 at the SMX Lanang Premier, Davao City with the theme “A Home for Every Filipino: Closing the Housing Gap.”