Local Housing Boards: Another Layer of Bureaucracy?
Among the many bills on housing and real estate pending in the legislature are several versions mandating the creation of Local Housing Boards in all cities, including first to third class municipalities, all over the country.
To say the least, real estate developers are often left alone to contend with the tedious and expensive process of securing development permit from the local Sangunians, not to mention all other permits, licenses and clearances from various government agencies, from the national down to the barangay level. Yet here comes another legislative measure seeking to make local housing boards a regular fixture in all local government units (LGUs) nationwide.
We are concerned that the local housing board will only serve as an additional layer of bureaucratic red tape in the LGUs and consequently increase development cost. This will then redound to the increase in the price of housing units as developers will be left with no other choice but to pass on the extra cost to home buyers.
If I may recall, since the function of approving development permits for subdivision projects was devolved to the LGUs by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act No. 7160, our development cost has, for some reason, tremendously increased, and the development period became substantially longer.
We also regret to admit that some, if not most, LGUs lack the depth of technical capacity and resources for effective shelter and urban development and management that is present in national agencies such as the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
In all fairness, local officials are required to perform other equally important functions for their constituencies, making it hard to devote the needed time and focus in meeting their respective housing challenges. …