November 30, 2023

Robes eyes amnesty program for delinquent government housing beneficiaries 

REPRESENTATIVE Florida  P. Robes of the Lone District of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan has filed a bill that would help delinquent beneficiaries of the government’s housing program keep their houses without fear of being ejected.

According to Robes there are thousands of beneficiaries who are set to be ejected due to their failure to pay monthly amortizations.

“Kawawa naman ang mga kababayan natin, nahihirapan na, mawawalan pa ng bahay,” Rep. Robes said.

Robes noted that Section 9 of Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution provides that the “State shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost, decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas,” Robes noted.

The Congresswoman also noted that the same Constitutional provision mandates the State to “promote adequate employment opportunities to such citizens. In the implementation of such program the State shall respect the rights of small property owners.”

Section 10 of the same Article, also states that: “Urban or rural poor dwellers shall not be evicted nor their dwelling demolished, except in accordance with law and in a just and humane manner.

No resettlement of urban or rural dwellers shall be undertaken without adequate consultation with them and the communities where they are to be relocated.”

In her bill, the lady solon said that the National Housing Authority (NHA) is the national agency mandated to engage in housing production for low-income families. 

It was mandated through Presidential Decree No. 757 and Executive Order No. 90 to focus on socialized housing through the development and implementation of comprehensive and integrated housing and development and resettlement.

“It has been discovered that there is a low occupancy rate for the government housing program mainly due to the failure of the beneficiaries to pay the monthly amortization and/or association dues, resulting to selling their rights or leasing-out their units to other individuals and entities, she explained. 

Robes also underscored reports that some of the beneficiaries have used their units as collateral for unregulated private and personal loans by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which gives the creditor unilateral right to seize the units in their favor.

“In effect, it defeats the very purpose of the government housing programs and NHA initiatives to provide decent and affordable housing for the underprivileged and marginalized Filipino Citizens,” the congresswoman from San Jose del Monte said.

Her bill aims to authorize the NHA to grant amnesty or condone the unpaid amortization/lease payments to ease the burden of the beneficiaries, or acquire the units from the original awardees in order to be allocated and awarded to qualified beneficiaries through the Build Better and More (BBM) and the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing Program.

The bill when passed into law shall be named as the “NHA Amnesty and Acquisition Act of 2023”

House Bill No. 1925 stipulates the policy of the State to ensure a continuing and sustainable program for urban land reform and housing which shall make available affordable, and decent housing with basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens, in order to guarantee freedom from poverty, higher standard of living, and improved quality of life for all.

The Robes bill also mandates the State to adopt viable land acquisition and management approach; Strengthen housing as a platform to reduce poverty, promote climate resilience, improve social outcome; and Intensify and widen its authority and functions to effectively fulfill their mandate.

Robes said her bill covers all NHA Projects such as house and lot, medium rise buildings, and condominiums including the improvement and rights that are: 

• Delinquent Accounts;

• Illegally/Unlawfully Transferred, Sold, leased, sublet encumbered and mortgaged illegally by the original awardees or otherwise dispose of his/her lot and/ or units; 

• Abandoned; Unoccupied – has no legitimate record of award and/or registration under the name of any beneficiary; and

• Cancelled, and Surrendered due to violation of the NHA Occupancy Rules and Regulations.

Under her bill the NHA is mandated to come up with uniform guidelines to govern the amnesty/condonation; or cancellation, acquisition, and awarding of units to qualified beneficiaries.

Robes’ bill also calls for an Inventory and Verification of all NHA housing/units prior to the implementation of the Amnesty Program.

“This Act shall cover the total condonation of all unpaid amortizations/lease payments and association dues of the awardees/beneficiaries in the Socialized Housing Program of the NHA, including any surcharges and penalties emanating thereto. Upon effectivity of this Act, the individual delinquent payments of the Awardees shall be condoned and off by the Government thereby relieving them from the burden of payment thereof,” says the bill.