Del Rosario vows affordable, resilient housing units for Pinoys

Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario has vowed to provide low cost housing projects to all Filipinos, serving with integrity and corrupt free businesses.

Marking the first founding anniversary of the newly created Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on February 14, del Rosario said the department seeks to produce more affordable, livable and resilient housing units for Filipinos.

"When you say resilient, meaning, it needs to be durable and not a substandard type of housing unit. We will concentrate on that and maybe we can undertake other modalities based on the government required budget," he told the Philippine News Agency in an interview recently.

He said part of the department's strategy is to expand and enhance its networking with all of its stakeholders to ensure that the regulatory aspect, finance method, and its production will complement the desire of the government to give more financial assistance to those who need it.

"The rules and regulations and the policies must complement our desire to give more financial assistance," he added, noting that the department considers housing projects as a need and right of all Filipinos.

He said the department's responsibility is to ensure, assist, and support the people to realize their dreams in getting their own houses.

"I'm seeing that the key in housing production will be more on networking with private sectors, (so) there will an interplay with our networking system that our regulatory aspect, our finance and production must be complimentary," he added.

New targets

Del Rosario added that the department might enter joint venture agreements and private public partnerships (PPP) to enhance its delivery of more housing units at low prices.

He said the department might enter into a rental housing concept that will benefit Filipino families to pay lower lease fee amounting from PHP1,000 to PHP1,500 which is "definitely much cheaper than the commercial rate of the house rental."

Under Republic Act 11201 signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 14, 2019, the new department is responsible for establishing Housing One Stop Processing Centers (HOPCs) in the regions to centralize the processing of housing related documents.

The law cited the need for underprivileged and homeless Filipinos to have access to safe and affordable housing.

"The State shall, by law and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of housing and urban development which shall make available at affordable cost, decent housing, and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas," the law stated.

Del Rosario said he was "given the disciplinary power to ensure that the personnel of the key shelter agencies are doing what is expected for them as professional employees on the housing sector."

He added that under his watch, the department would raise the bar of integrity in the housing sector and set a standard in the ease of doing business.

"This is one key to eliminate corruption, to strictly observe the ease of doing business and I would not like to hear as I've told my officials, if I will be hearing complaints coming from the ground, I would like to assure them, as a friendly reminder, that I will investigate," he said, adding that if someone is found guilty of corruption, a sanction will be strictly imposed.

"We are here to serve. We must serve with integrity and possible corruption free department," he said.

The DHSUD consolidates the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

Source: Philippines News Agency


14 cops on drug list opt for early retirement: Gamboa

Fourteen out of 357 police officers on President Rodrigo Duterte's drug list have expressed intentions to avail of early retirement, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said on Tuesday.

If you don't want to embarrass yourself if you are guilty and you think you cannot escape those who will evaluate you, or if you really want peace of mind then we offer you optional retirement, Gamboa said in a radio interview.

Gamboa, however, said this does not mean that they will be off the hook.

I made it clear to them na hindi ibig sabihin na kapag nag optionally retired ka hindi ka na namin susundan (this does not mean that when you are optionally retired we will no longer follow you), he said.

Gamboa assured continued monitoring on these policemen.

Also on the list are 46 policemen who were marked as Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).

Gamboa acknowledged that the "more tedious" part was the validation of the drug list.

If the policemen were not cleared after the validation, cases will be filed against them.

"Sinabi ko na sa kanila [I told them] we will apply the full force of the law to you. Makikita nyo hindi kayo makalulusot [You will see that you cannot run away]," Gamboa pointed out.

He said the names of the policemen will not be published pending investigation results.

I will not reveal not even their names. It's because the presumption is they are already guilty and we cannot avoid speculations once we release their names. So I hope the people would respect that. Let us clean our ranks first, Gamboa said.

A brigadier general was the highest ranked police officer on the President's drug list which was gathered since 2016 when Duterte launched his massive war against illegal drugs.

The national adjudication board of the PNP under Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan would take action against those on the list, Gamboa said.

"We ourselves are going to process them, adjudicate, and validate the information that they are involved and hopefully those who are innocent may clear their names but those who are not may face the full force of the law," Gamboa said.

He said once the investigation is completed, the results and recommendations will be submitted to the President.

Gamboa has given the PNP's National Adjudication Board one month to finish the validation of the information on these police officers.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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