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Underprivileged and homeless citizens resettlement bill filed in the House

Members of Kadamay rally last month in Quezon City against threats to drive them away from vacant government-built houses. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — A bill ensuring that socialized housing sites and resettlement areas have livable homes with basic provisions such as water and power, and prioritizing on-site and in-city resettlement have been filed in the House of Representatives.

Bahay Rep. Naealla Aguinaldo’s House Bill No. 3041 or the “Underprivileged and Homeless Citizens Resettlement Act (UHCRA)” seeks to amend the 27-year-old Republic Act No. 7279 or Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA). The party-list representative said her proposed law would be “more responsive to and cognizant of the problems faced by homeless, underprivileged Filipinos – especially informal settler families (ISFs).”

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“It is also necessary to update the UDHA’s provisions so that it is guided by international standards and conventions, particularly what the United Nations refers to as the right to adequate housing,” Aguinaldo, a former Department of Justice and Office of the President undersecretary, said in a statement Tuesday.

The congresswoman said the bill’s provisions would “ensure that socialized housing sites and resettlement areas have livable homes that have basic provisions such as water and power,” and “prioritize on-site and in-city resettlement and ensure livelihood for displaced beneficiaries. She also said this proposed law would “provide clear guidelines and limitations with regard to summary evictions and demolitions” and “establish a single unified database for qualified socialized housing beneficiaries.”

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Aguinaldo said Section 21 of HB 3041 requires socialized housing units built in resettlement areas to:

(1) be habitable homes with at least one window, one exterior door, an intact roof, an enclosed bathroom, and an adequate kitchen;
(2) have access to safe drinking water;
(3) have electricity and an adequate power distribution system that must be provided by either the local government unit or the appropriate public or private agency;
(4) have adequate sanitation, sewerage, and solid waste disposal systems; and
(5) have access to roads and transportation facilities.

Aside from these provisions, Aguinaldo said the UHCRA would also ensure that the UDHA is consistent with Republic Act 11201, which establishes the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

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“Given this, we have to reconcile the provisions of both laws for a more comprehensive and streamlined approach to addressing the housing issues and challenges facing the country,” the lawyer said.

“Ang goal natin ay maayos na bahay para sa mga nangangailangan at disenteng buhay para sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

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