Government fasttracks grant of perks to socialized housing projects

Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A few days before the third anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, the government embarked yesterday on an effort to fasttrack the grant of incentives for socialized housing projects to ensure their timely construction.

Under a memorandum of agreement, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) agreed to “prioritize” certifying tax exemptions on raw lands to be used by the National Housing Authority (NHA) for re-settlement.

In turn, the NHA will “endorse and assist” a housing contractor on applying for a certificate of tax exemption before BIR.

“There will be streamlined processes and reduced documents. BIR will be issuing a revenue memorandum order for this,” BIR assistant commissioner Marissa Cabreros said in a text message.

“Immediate transfer of the properties to NHA ensures immediate development by the government of the housing projects,” she said

Aside from BIR and NHA, the Housing and Urban Development Council (HUDCC) was also tasked to provide the tax agency a list of all state housing projects qualified for incentives.

Under Section 19 of Republic Act 7279, NHA socialized houses are exempted from all local and national taxes and fees.

The agreement was signed by BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay, NHA acting general manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. and Vice President and HUDCC chair Leni Robredo.

This came five days before the country marked the third anniversary of Yolanda’s landfall in Southern Philippines, affecting 1.47 million families and killing 6,300 people.

As of Sept. 15 last year, government rehabilitation data showed a total of 17,641 permanent housing units had already been constructed, with 42,566 more still underway.

Around 96 percent or 987,545 of the 1.03 million families with damaged houses were already given emergency shelter assistance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

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