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House approves a bill on sustainable community development.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill promoting the growth of sustainable towns and cities across the nation on its third and final reading.

House Bill 6715, which aims to require all cities and municipalities that are classified as urban to comply with and carry out plans, programs, and activities inspired by Ambisyon 2040 as well as the Philippine Standards for Sustainable Cities and Communities, was approved by the chamber with 243 yes votes, 3 no votes, and no abstentions.

The idea, according to Speaker Martin Romualdez, intends to develop communities that may offer adequate living circumstances to Filipinos, particularly the poor, providing cozy housing and recreational facilities, essential services, and work possibilities.

According to Romualdez, poor individuals from rural communities go to cities and other metropolitan regions mostly in search of employment and a means of supporting their family.

If we could create sustainable metropolitan regions, towns, and communities while balancing national development, he claimed, we could stop such migration.

The New Urban Agenda of the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should serve as a guide in creating sustainable cities and communities, according to Jose Francisco Benitez, chair of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

The guidelines of inclusive urban circular economy, spatial justice, urban renewal, urban mobility, digital connectivity, urban safety, ecological balance, disaster resilience, climate change adaptation, cultural diversity, participatory urban governance, and the alignment of economic, social, and environmental policies were also mentioned. He continued by saying that urbanization should adhere to these standards as well.

These goals are challenging, but it is urgently necessary to plan and develop our cities and communities in a way that will help us achieve them, he said.

The proposed Sustainable Cities and Communities Act will be aligned with current national housing and urban development plans by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), in collaboration with pertinent government agencies, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, the private sector, and academic institutions.

To carry out the objectives of the proposed law, the DHSUD shall establish a national housing and urban development plan in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Philippine StatA.

LGUs and national agencies are required to contribute to the creation of such a strategy.

The DHSUD will adopt implementing rules and regulations after consulting with the DILG, NEDA, PSA, League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, civil society organizations, the commercial sector, and academic institutions.

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