By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Ahead of the third anniversary of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo has signed Friday, November 4, a tripartite deal to fast-track the processes in building more permanent houses for the survivors.
Robredo, also the chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to accelerate building of “Yolanda” housing.
Latest data showed over 1.5 million informal settler families (ISFs) and 108,000 families in Yolanda-stricken areas are still in need of socialized housing. “This is a significant step forward in our race against time to move as many families as quickly as possible to safer, more permanent and more livable homes and communities,” Robredo stressed.
Super Typhoon “Yolanda”—one of the strongest and deadliest typhoons ever recorded in the Philippines—struck the country on November 8, 2013, killing over 6,000 people.
Aside from Robredo, other signatories of the MOA were BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay and Grace Guevarra, officer-in-charge for NHA Visayas Management Office, representing NHA general manager Marcelino Escalada.
Cutting red tape
Among the primary objectives of the MOA include prioritizing and expediting the processing and issuance of the certificate of tax exemption for transfers of raw land to NHA intended for socialized housing projects.
The requests for the issuance of the certificate of tax exemption will also be processed directly by the Office of the Commissioner to further streamline the process.
The BIR, HUDCC and NHA agreed to hold regular consultations to monitor the effectiveness of procedures and address remaining bottlenecks.
Under the said agreement, the BIR commits to eliminate unnecessary documentary requirements needed to issue a certificate of tax exemption. The NHA will assist the BIR in the evaluation and verification of documentary requirements to be attached to the application as well as providing the list of authorized officers to certify records from NHA.
The HUDCC, meanwhile, will assist the BIR in identifying and monitoring socialized housing projects under RA No. 7279 qualified for tax incentives by submitting a regularly updated master list of socialized housing projects of the national government.
Robredo said that this agreement with BIR is one of HUDCC’s 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.”
Currently, HUDCC is working on two other agreements with the BIR and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) that is supportive of the socialized housing programs under SHFC’s community mortgage program.
Another MOA will also be signed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board for socialized housing programs by the private sector.