National Housing Commission
Commonwealth Act No. 648

June 16, 1941



SECTION 1. There is created a public corporation to be known as the National Housing Commission, which shall be a body corporate and politic in deed and in law and as such is endowed with the attribute of perpetual succession and possessed of the powers which pertain to public corporations, to be exercised in conformity with the provisions hereof. It shall have its central office in the City of Manila. AEIcSa

SECTION 2. The purposes for which the National Housing Commission is created are:

(a) The acquisition, development, improvement, construction, leasing and selling of lands and buildings or any interest therein in the cities and populous towns of the Philippines, with the object of providing decent housing for those who may be found unable otherwise to provide themselves therewith;

(b) The promotion of the physical, social, and economic betterment of the inhabitants of the cities and populous towns of the Philippines, by eliminating therefrom slums and dwelling places which are unhygienic or unsanitary and by providing homes at low cost to replace those which may be so eliminated; and

(c) The provision of community and institutional housing for destitute individuals and families and for paupers.

SECTION 3. The Commission shall have the power to adopt a common seal and alter the same at pleasure, to contract and be contracted with, to sue and be sued, and to prosecute and defend to final judgment and execution, in the exercise of its power herein granted.

SECTION 4. The National Housing Commission shall have the power to take, acquire, purchase, receive, and hold personal and real property by lease, purchase, expropriation, or otherwise, and to sell, mortgage, let, demise, convey, exchange, lend, and otherwise dispose of real and personal property, for cash, by installment contract, or otherwise, to solicit, receive and disburse loans and grants of money and property from the Government or from private individuals, to apply any profit or capital recoveries which might accrue from its operations for the purposes for which the Commission is created, to select after investigation the individuals and families which are to occupy or acquire lots and houses at the disposal of the Commission, to enter into or execute contracts as may be considered convenient and advantageous to the Commission, and for the purpose of carrying on its business and of attaining or furthering any of its objects, to perform any and all acts which a co-partnership or natural person is authorized to perform under the laws existing or which may be hereafter enacted, and to adopt or promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. The National Housing Commission shall exercise its corporate powers, perform its duties, and carry out its purposes through a Governing Council and its executive officers hereinafter specified and such additional officers, employees, and agents as may be authorized from time to time by the Governing Council, with the approval of the President. The Governing Council of the National Housing Commission shall consist of a chairman and four members to be appointed by the President of the Philippines, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. The members of the Governing Council shall hold office for five years. When the members of the Governing Council first appointed hereunder shall have assumed office, the President shall designate in writing within thirty days of notification of their assumption of office the members who are to serve one, two, three, four, and five years, respectively, and their terms shall expire in accordance with such designation. Thereafter the person appointed to succeed a member of the Governing Council whose term of office shall have expired by reason of such designation shall continue to serve for the full five-year term, and except in the case of vacancies caused otherwise than by the expiry of the term, only one member shall be appointed to the Governing Council each year. In the event of a vacancy, the successor appointed to fill the same shall serve only the unexpired portion of the term of the member he succeeds.

Unless holding other office in the Government or a position with fixed compensation in any government corporation or instrumentality, the chairman of the Governing Council shall receive, for each meeting of the council which he attends, a per diem of thirty pesos, and each member shall receive a per diem of twenty pesos.

SECTION 6. The chairman shall preside over the meetings of the Governing Council and perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by said Council. A vice-chairman may be designated by the President to act in case of the absence or disability of the chairman.

SECTION 7. The Governing Council shall, with the approval of the President of the Philippines, appoint and fix the salary of a manager, who shall be the chief executive officer of the National Housing Commission, and under the direction of the Governing Council shall be responsible for carrying out the orders, resolution, ordinances, rules and regulations of the Council. The Council may suspend and, with the approval of the President, remove the Manager.

The Governing Council shall likewise appoint and fix the salaries of one or more assistant managers, a secretary, and treasurer, and define their powers and duties, or may assign to one person the duties of secretary and treasurer.

The Governing Council may adopt and publish such by-laws as it may deem convenient to regulate its procedure.

SECTION 8. The Governing Council shall fix the compensation of all other officers, employees, and agents of the National Housing Commission. The manager shall appoint them in accordance with the Civil Service Law and the Salary Law: Provided, however, That agents performing occasional services and handling commercial activities for the Commission, and not regularly employed, shall not be subject to the limitations nor entitled to the benefits applicable to the Civil Service.

SECTION 9. If the volume of work of the Commission shall require the assignment of one or more full-time representatives of the Auditor-General to serve with the National Housing Commission, the compensation of such representatives shall be paid by the Commission.

SECTION 10. The Solicitor-General shall be attorney for the National Housing Commission, and may designate or authorize any other law officer of the Government, including provincial fiscals and public defenders, to represent the Commission in matters requiring the services of an attorney-at-law.

SECTION 11. Whenever the National Housing Commission shall certify to the President of the Philippines that it is to the public interest to expropriate private lands in any city or populous town or adjacent thereto for the purpose of subdividing the same into small lots and leasing and selling the lots to individuals, the President may authorize the National Housing Commission to exercise the right of eminent domain. The National Housing Commission may enter into possession of the land sought to be expropriated immediately, upon deposit with the court of an equal amount to the assessed value of such land, as declared by the owner and approved by the city or provincial assessor, in accordance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act Numbered Five hundred thirty. aHICDc

SECTION 12. In computing the cost of the lots to be leased or sold to individuals under the authority of the next preceding section, the following expenditures may be taken into account:

(a) Aggregate cost of acquisition of the land from the private owner, including expenses of the expropriation proceedings and appraisals.

(b) Cost of subdivision survey.

(c) Cost of development expenses for filling, construction of streets, curbs, and sidewalks, drainage, clearing, and other public works which enhance the value of the land.

(d) Cost of improvements acquired incidental to the acquisition of the land.

If the land acquired be of varying character or value, the aggregate cost of acquisition shall be distributed equitably by the Governing Council among the various sections or lots. The cost of areas set aside for streets, parks, community centers, and other public uses primarily for the benefit of the individual lots shall likewise be equitably allotted to the cost of the lots.

SECTION 13. Pending the sale to individuals of land acquired by expropriation under authority hereof, the Commission may dispose of unsold lots by lease.

SECTION 14. The National Housing Commission is empowered to take title to, develop, administer, and dispose of by sale or lease any portion or portions of the public domain designated for residential use, pursuant to the provisions of sections seventy-one to eighty-two, inclusive, of the Public Land Act, and other applicable provisions of said Act.

SECTION 15. When the Commission shall have available and reasonable number of dwelling places under its control, it shall have the power from time to time, after due investigation, to declare a specified area a slum area, and to take measures to eliminate or improve unsatisfactory conditions obtaining in such slum area.

SECTION 16. The order of the Commission declaring a slum area must be by virtue of a finding of facts that the living conditions prevailing in the specified slum area are unhygienic or unsanitary to a degree which renders same a danger to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of such area and its environs, which finding of facts shall be recited in the order. The order shall specify the boundaries of the slum area by reference to known streets or public places, or by other notes and bounds, and shall have annexed thereto a plan clearly showing the location of the slum area. Said order shall be published twice in the Official Gazette for two consecutive weeks and copies thereof posted in four conspicuous places on or adjacent to the slum area, and at the municipal building of the city or municipality in which the slum area is situated. Copies of the order shall also be left at each dwelling house in the slum area and an effort made to serve copies on the owners of the land embraced in the slum area, but failure to leave or serve such copies shall not vitiate the proceedings hereunder. For a period of thirty days after such posting and publication, any party may object to the order declaring a slum area, and shall be given an opportunity within a period specified in the order to be heard by the Commission. The Commission may eliminate a portion of the slum area or otherwise modify its order as a result of objections presented, or refuse to reconsider its order. In the latter case, the person objecting may appeal from the order of the Commission to the President of the Philippines within ten days of the date of the Commission's decision, by filing his appeal with the Commission. The Commission shall forthwith transmit the appeal with its views to the President, whose decision thereon shall be final. An objection or appeal hereunder shall not stay the Commission from proceeding under this Act with respect to the land or buildings of those not appealing.

SECTION 17. When an order declaring a slum area shall have become effective, the Commission shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the government of the city or municipality in which the slum is situated to adopt building and sanitary regulations with the same powers as such city or municipality might have with respect thereto; but such regulations shall in general follow the existing municipal ordinances if an adequate sanitary and building code or regulations be in force, and shall not be less exacting than those of the city or municipality concerned. In case of conflict, the President of the Philippines shall determine which regulation shall prevail.

SECTION 18. The Commission may declare its jurisdiction over a slum area terminated when in its opinion its purposes have been accomplished therein, but may subsequently declare such area or portion thereof a slum area should conditions again justify the same.

SECTION 19. The Commission shall exercise the following powers and authority over duly declared slum areas:

(a) To prohibit the owner or agent of a parcel of land to use, or to rent to, or permit its use by others, for any building which the Commission may declare to be unfit for use or habitation because of being unhygienic, unsanitary, dangerous to life or property, or of a type or character prohibited by the sanitary or building regulations of the Commission or of the city or municipality in which situated.

(b) To prohibit the owner or agent of a parcel of land to use, to rent to, or permit its use by others for more buildings or dwellings than permitted by ordinance or regulations, and to prohibit the owner or agent of a house abutting on a private alley to use, to rent to, or permit its use for a building, unless (1) the site is provided with adequate surface drainage by means of concrete, tile, metal or masonry canals, gutters, or pipes emptying into a public drain, estero, or other suitable body of water so as to prevent the accumulation and stagnation of water on the site or lot, and unless (2) each dwelling abuts upon a public street or alley or on a private alley having the minimum width hereinafter prescribed, so constructed and maintained with stone, gravel, cinders, bricks, cement, or other equally suitable material, that surface water will flow therefrom and that garbage collectors and others rendering public service may conveniently pass thereon. The minimum width for public and private streets and alleys for the purposes of this Act shall be three meters when the length thereof does not exceed thirty meters or the length thereof between intersecting streets or alleys does not exceed fifty meters. In all other cases the minimum width shall be five meters. aHSAIT

(c) To cause any building deemed unfit for use or habitation for the causes stated in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section to be demolished at the cost and expense of the owner, unless the same be brought into conformity with the requirements of the Commission within a reasonable time, which shall be not less than fifteen days from the date of the order of the Commission declaring said building to be unfit.

(d) To defray the cost of demolition if the owner of the building fails or refuses to demolish the same or to bring it into such conformity in due time, or to defray the cost of such demolition from the value of any salvaged materials resulting from the demolition of the building.

(e) To pay to the owner of a building demolished by virtue of this section such an amount as the Commission may determine to be just but not exceeding the assessed value of the building, when in the opinion of the Commission such payment will be less expensive and will be more apt promptly to accomplish the purposes of this Act than the withholding of such payment, and may stipulate how such payment shall be applied to further the purposes of this Act, including the application to arrears in rental due to the owner of the land when the building is owned by a tenant, when the Commission is able to supply the dispossessed tenant with other housing suitable to his income and is satisfied that the owner of the land is fully cooperating in the Commission's program of slum clearance.

(f) When the owner or agent of a property or properties has been notified under this section to bring the same into conformity with the requirements of the Commission and fails or neglects to do so within the time stipulated in the order of the Commission, the Commission may in its discretion cause the work to be done which it deems necessary to bring the property or properties into conformity with the requirements of the Commission and the cost thereof, plus a surcharge of not to exceed ten per centum for overhead expense, shall be a lien against the property affected superior to all other liens except tax liens, and the Commission may proceed against the owner or against the property, or both simultaneously, to recover such cost and surcharge. The power of the Commission to bring a property into conformity with its requirements includes the power to repair or remodel existing structures when the cost thereof does not exceed fifteen per centum of the assessed or reasonable market value, whichever is the lesser. Should the owner make a showing to the Commission that his failure or neglect to bring the property into conformity with the requirements of the Commission is due to his lack of means, the Commission may in its discretion authorize reimbursement of the cost and surcharge incurred by it hereunder over a period of years, with interest not exceeding six per centum per annum.

(g) Should any person do or refrain from doing any act or thing in violation of any municipal or city ordinance or order of the Commission, the Commission may apply to the court of first instance for an order enjoining the person against doing or ordering him to do the act or thing complained of, and if upon due hearing the court shall find the complaint of the Commission to be justified it shall issue and enforce the corresponding order, and in such case the sheriff or any officer of the Commission appointed by the court in lieu of the sheriff shall enforce such order of the court. In such cases the applicable provisions of the Rules of Court shall be availed of.

(h) Should the order of the Commission involve the filling of lowlands in the city of Manila, the owner of the land or the Commission may avail themselves of the provisions of Act Numbered Thirty-three hundred and fifty-two, as amended, known as the Lowland Improvement Act, and upon petition of the Commission, or at the request of the owner made within fifteen days after receipt of an order of the Commission requiring the filling of his land, the Mayor of Manila shall, if there be sufficient money available for expenditure in the fund created by said Act, condemn the land complained of and require that it be filled pursuant to said Act.

SECTION 20. The officers and employees of the Commission shall have the same right of entry into private premises and other police powers as officers and employees of the Bureau of Health, or of the health department of the City of Manila.

SECTION 21. Any person who shall fail or neglect to carry out the lawful orders of the Commission issued pursuant to section nineteen hereof, or who shall violate any sanitary or building regulation promulgated by the Commission shall be punished for each offense by a fine of not more than six hundred pesos, or by imprisonment of not more than six months, or by both.

SECTION 22. The National Housing Commission may appropriate available funds under its control for the use of the city, municipal, or municipal district government whenever the local revenues are deemed insufficient to maintain the standards of public services deemed appropriate for the accomplishment of the purposes of this Act within the areas controlled by the Commission. In the case of the lease of lots or houses in cities or towns which furnish suitable public services and assume the cost of maintaining streets and other public works, the Commission may include in the rental rate an amount equal to the real estate taxes which would accrue were the property privately owned and turn over the same to the local government concerned. AICTcE

SECTION 23. The Commission shall commence its activities under this Act in the City of Manila and its environs, but shall promptly undertake technical investigations to determine the extent of slum conditions in other cities and populous towns of the Philippines and make an estimate of the cost of extending its activities thereto when funds and personnel are made available therefor. Report of the Commission's investigations and estimates shall forthwith be submitted to the President of the Philippines and to the Congress of the Philippines with his recommendations in the premises.

SECTION 24. There is appropriated out of any funds in the Philippine Treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of five million pesos in order to enable the National Housing Commission to accomplish its purposes and objects as set forth in this Act: Provided, That the sum herein appropriated shall not be paid to said Commission except upon order of the President of the Philippines, who may require that such payment be made in full or in installments, in his discretion. The unexpended and unobligated balances of the appropriations made in Act Numbered Forty-one hundred and eighty-four, as amended by Commonwealth Act Numbered Forty-three, are reverted to the general funds of the National Treasury.

SECTION 25. All moneys received or collected by the National Housing Commission from its operations shall accrue to, and form part of, its funds and be available for appropriation by said Commission.

SECTION 26. The corporate existence of the National Housing Commission shall commence upon the date when a majority of the members of the Governing Council shall have taken their oaths of office.

SECTION 27. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved, June 16, 1941. HCEISc