Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Thursday urged real estate developers to help in building sustainable communities for survivors of the major earthquake in Negros Oriental and of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Iligan.

                  “I ask you to contribute whatever resources you have to help our affected fellow citizens.  The magnitude of the housing need is huge, but natural calamities can only challenge us to double our efforts,” Binay said in a speech during the Real Estate Developers Recognition and Appreciation Night.

                  “In CDO and Iligan, we need to build about 14,000 houses. There are designated areas which will serve as relocation sites for the affected families and we urge you to help us develop these areas into sustainable communities,” he added.

                  Binay, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), told the developers that they may put up housing projects in the affected areas as compliance to the 20 percent balanced housing requirement under the Urban Development and Housing Act.

                  The housing czar also suggested that they could provide the labor and construction materials or put up community facilities in those areas.

                  “It is time that we, in the housing sector, initiate bold and far-reaching reforms for sustainability, and to make the housing programs more relevant most especially to the homeless poor,” Binay said.

                  Meanwhile, the Vice stressed the need to use cost-effective building materials to make housing units more affordable and sustainable.

                  He urged the developers to tap the Accredited Innovative Technologies for Housing (AITECH), a committee formed under HUDCC and the National Housing Authority (NHA) that is tasked to evaluate and accredit innovative technologies and systems for housing.

                  Binay said this would promote housing technologies and design by Filipino proponent which would help reduce construction costs.

                  The housing czar also called on the developers to help government housing agencies draft the implementing rules and regulations on the exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) of the purchase of construction materials.

                  “This is provided under the Urban Development and Housing Act, but has not been implemented due to the lack of guidelines.  Let us, by all means, draft these guidelines together and ask the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) to adopt them,” Binay said.

                  The Vice President encouraged the developers to “continue to be the sounding board of policy and program reforms” of the government.

                  “We need to know what initiatives or interventions are needed by the private sector, to accelerate its housing production, and contribute in the effort of solving the housing backlog.  We need your views on appropriate loan ceilings and lending rates that should be instituted for you to expand your market,” he said.

                  Binay also asked for ideas on how to successfully implement regional one-stop shop for the processing, approval and issuance of clearances, permits and licenses for housing projects.

                  Moreover, the Vice President said that discussions on the price ceiling of housing units that will be eligible under the Bureau of Investment’s (BOI) Investment Priorities Plan should be made within the month.

                  “Since the cap on the sale of real estate has been increased to P3.1 million, we should now move to secure from the BPI a similar ceiling for investors availing of tax incentives under the IPP of the BOI,” he said.

                  “Similarly, we need to review, simplify and standardize the requirements of the BIR and the BOI to encourage the expansion of investments in housing,” he added.

                  The BIR previously approved the upward adjustment of the price ceilings on real estate transactions that are exempted from the 12 percent VAT.

                  Binay said that the increase in the cap of real estate transactions exempted from VAT was a manifestation of the partnership of real estate developers and the government.​