Agencies sign deal to speed up housing for Yolanda victims

Patty Pasion
Agencies sign deal to speed up housing for Yolanda victims
Nearly 3 years ago since Super Typhoon Yolanda, only 12% of the 205,000 needed housing for victims have been completed

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 3 years since Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas, several agencies signed a tripartite deal with Vice President Leni Robredo, who heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), to clear the housing backlog in the area.

On Thursday, November 3, Robredo signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fast-track the issuance of a Certificate of Tax Exemption needed for socialized housing projects.

Other signatories to the agreement are BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada, who was represented by the Officer-in-Charge for NHA Visayas Management Office, Ms. Grace Guevarra. 

Under the deal, the BIR pledged to remove the documentary requirements needed to issue a Certificate of Tax Exemption to NHA. Applications for this tax exemption shall also be processed directly under the Office of the Commissioner to ensure faster response.

NHA, for its part, will work with the BIR in verifying the documentary requirements that will be attached to each application. They will also have to provide the finance bureau with a list of authorized officers to certify the documents from NHA.

HUDCC must in return regularly submit a master list of the national government’s socialized housing projects to assist BIR in monitoring those qualified for tax incentives.

“This agreement with BIR is one of our efforts to clear out the choke points that were identified as roots of the very protracted process in the delivery of socialized housing and resettlements, even in emergency situations,” Robredo said in a statement sent by her office.

During her visit to Yolanda-stricken areas in September, Robredo found that only 12% of the 205,000 homes needed by the victims have been completed 3 years after the strongest typhoon in recent history swept through Eastern Visayas.

Private partnership

The HUDCC is also working on forging another deal with the BIR and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) for housing projects that will be constructed in partnership with the private sector.

In her first few weeks in office, Robredo has pitched to seek the help of private firms in building houses for the poor.

She cited the Quezon City government’s relocation site, which was established through a partnership with developer Phinma Properties. Dwellers, she said, only pay as much as P2,000 monthly amortization for a decent 26-squaremeter home in the city.

Based on the data by the NHA, there is a 1.4 million housing backlog as of 2011 that is expected to reach reach 5 million by the end of 2016.

Robredo said that the government has to build more than 2,600 homes every day in the next 6 years to address this issue. –

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.