Housing developers air concerns as works resume
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Real estate and housing developers have aired their concerns on the resumption of their stalled construction projects amid the upcoming easing of quarantine protocols in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

In a video conference meeting with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), top officials of the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers Association of the Philippines (OSHDAP) and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) said several problems are expected to arise with the resumption of activities in the real estate industry.

Among the issues raised by the developers are the possible conflict with homeowners’ associations and local government units (LGUs).

The developers said some homeowners’ associations and LGUs are still apprehensive in allowing the resumption of construction works within their jurisdiction over health and security concerns in connection with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This is despite an earlier resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) allowing the resumption of “priority public and private construction and infrastructure projects,” including the housing sector.

In response, Human Settlements Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario directed all DHSUD regional directors to closely monitor the activities on the ground.

“I am ordering all (DHSUD) regional directors that if there will be some problems on the ground, immediately act on the issue so that it will be directly and immediately addressed,” Del Rosario said.

“At the same time, the DHSUD regional officers shall ensure strict compliance of developers to our guidelines and other government protocols,” he added.

Del Rosario had earlier issued a Department Order (DO) setting the guidelines that developers must comply with before they can resume their operations.

Under DO 2020-005, developers are directed to subject all workers to rapid COVID-19 testing or to a five-day mandatory quarantine; establish on-site or near-site barracks; provide assistance package for workers who may contract COVID-19 in the course of the project; provide health insurance coverage for all workers; and require workers to wear facemask at all times.

The developers were directed to submit a certification to DHSUD indicating compliance to the guidelines before being allowed to resume construction operations.

“The protocols should be applied regardless of the classification of risks, whether low or high, to ensure the protection of our workers and keep construction sites COVID-free,” Del Rosario reiterated.

“Non-compliance shall warrant the imposition of a cease and desist order against the covered entities,” he added.

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