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Robredo signs deal to speed up shelter building

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Vice-President Leni Robredo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Vice-President Leni Robredo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Vice President Leni Robredo has signed a deal with two government agencies to accelerate shelter building for more than 100,000 families displaced by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan)  three years ago.

Robredo, chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) to reduce red tape in socialized housing projects.

“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 said in a statement on Friday.

She said the agreement seeks “to clear out the chokepoints that were identified as roots of the very protracted process in the delivery of socialized housing and resettlements, even in emergency situations.”

Informal settlers

Besides providing for the housing needs of 108,000 families in Yolanda-stricken areas, the agreement will also cover more than 1.5 million informal settler families nationwide, the Office of the Vice President said on Friday.

Robredo, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and Grace Guevarra of the NHA Visayas Management Office, representing NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., signed the MOA on Thursday.

Under the agreement, the BIR commits to cut down documentary requirements for a Certificate of Tax Exemption for lands transferred to the NHA for socialized housing.

The NHA will assist the BIR in evaluating and verifying documents to be attached to applications for tax exemptions.

The BIR, HUDCC and NHA will hold regular consultations to monitor procedures and address bottlenecks.

HUDCC will assist the BIR in identifying and monitoring socialized housing projects that are qualified for tax incentives under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

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