Davao City’s proposed Shelter Code back to square one

Cabling, who heads the council's committee on housing, rural and urbandevelopment said it might take at least a month for the city council to deliberate on addressing the veto points the City Legal Office raised against the proposed ordinance.

The Shelter Code Alliance, which labeled the four veto points merely as styling lapses, slammed the councilors of the 14th council for being remiss in their job in overlooking the points raised in the veto.

Duterte cited four reasons when he signed his veto message on July 11 against City Ordinance No. 0372-07 Series of 2007 or the "Shelter Code of Davao City."

The message said the ordinance contained "flawed provisions, which, by legal technicalities, may render invalid or nugatory the entirety of the ordinance."

The executive department questioned Section 19 of the proposed ordinance as invalid, which provides for the allocation of budget from the City Housing Office to the proposed City Housing Board.

The provision on budget was considered the biggest blow as the three other veto points were considered styling flaws.

The City Legal Office said the Local Government Code disallows transferring appropriation from a budget item to another. It also questioned the lack of certification to guarantee funds are available for the supposed 10-percent increment.

Virginia Bayo, convener of the alliance, said Section 19 was wrongly stated. It was meant to specify that of the P2-million budget of the CHO, 10 percent or P200,000 should be allotted to the City Housing Board, which will be the policy-making body of the CHO.

Cabling told MindaNews the version he would pass for first reading on Tuesday will indicate that the CHB will pass an annual budget.

Bayo told MindaNews Friday the lapses were not noticed by the councilors who lacked trained eyes and focus, despite the presence of lawyers in the 26-member legislative body.

She said some of the councilors who questioned the merits of the ordinance before were absent in the plenary deliberations and committee hearings.

The group admitted the CLO just did its job to question portions of the ordinance, but that the councilors should have done their job better.

She said the alliance, present in all the sessions and hearings tackling the proposed ordinance from November 2006 to June 2007, cannot be blamed for pushing the long delayed legislation.

Among the outcomes of the city council's deliberation on the code was a recommendation to review its house rules.

A teary-eyed Bayo vowed to pursue advocacy for the ordinance but admitted the delay due to the lapses meant a longer wait for them.

She called on the new city council to prioritize the ordinance and make it the first to be passed under Vice Mayor Sara Duterte.

The group urged the council to legislate the ordinance "urgently, but thoroughly."

The city's urban poor communities expect the passing of the legislation as a step forward from scattered, unsustainable, and disharmonized programs on housing.

The city has around 109,000 families with no security of tenure, the group said.

The Comprehensive Development Plan of Davao City (1996-2016) identified seven major problems of the housing sub-sector of the city as acute housing shortage; inadequate affordable housing programs to address the poorest of the poor; absence of a Comprehensive Shelter Program/Plan for the City; affordability of the underprivileged homeless population of the City; administrative bottlenecks in securing the development permits, conversion clearance, tax exemption certificates, EEC clearance and the like; spiraling cost of raw land and construction materials, and rampant squatting along waterways, roads-right-of-way, government and private lands.

From 2001 to 2005, the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) identified 14, 274 informal structures. According to a 2006 study done by the Davao Association of Colleges and Universities in 2006, 30 percent of the city's total population belong to the informal housing sector.

For the advocates, the ordinance will address these problems.

They expect the ordinance to strengthen social housing policies, plans and programs, and expedite the delivery of land tenure security and urban services to the poor.

Among the highlights of the ordinance is the creation of an 11-member multi-sectoral Local Housing Board.

The alliance issued a media brief which said it will be a pro-active policy making and monitoring body that will have a focused mandate on addressing the problems on land tenure security of the homeless and underprivileged sector.

At least five members of the board will come from the city's informal sector. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)