MANILA - President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed a law creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

Under Republic Act No. 11201 signed by Duterte on Feb. 14 and released to the media on Tuesday, the new department will be responsible for establishing Housing One-Stop Processing Centers (HOPCs) in the regions to centralize the processing of housing-related documents.

The law cited the need for underprivileged and homeless Filipinos to have access to safe and affordable housing.

"The State shall, by law and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of housing and urban development which shall make available at affordable cost, decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas," the law read.

"The State shall ensure that poor dwellers in urban and rural areas shall not be evicted nor their dwelling demolished, except in accordance with law," it added.

The DHSUD will consolidate the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

Under the new law, adjudications in the HLURB will now be transferred to the Human Settlements Adjudication Commission.

The new law also established bureaus that deal with Environmental, Land Use and Urban Planning and Development, Housing and Real Estate Development Regulation, and Homeowners Associations and Community Development.

The policies and program developments of attached agencies will now be under the National Human Settlements Board. (PNA)