The government has cautioned the public from buying property “rights” as such may be a trap done by squatting syndicates.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) warned prospective buyers from purchasing property “rights” by illegal groups engaged in the business of squatter housing for profit or gain.
Squatting syndicates target informal settler communities in long strips of land by collecting money in exchange for “rights” to live in the claimed property.
DHSUD said these groups use fake documents and titles to sell or convince victims of their legitimacy.
“The scheme is downright malicious and conniving because it preys upon victims’ desire but ultimately denies them true home ownership,” DHSUD secretary Eduardo del Rosario said.
“At the same time, it also strips legitimate owners of their right to use, access and enjoy the benefits of their land,” he said.
The Housing chief emphasized that home buyers may verify a title with the Registry of Deeds to ensure its legitimacy.
Del Rosario also advised buyers to follow the DREAM (Demand, Read, Engage, Ask and Move) to avoid being scammed when purchasing property.
“Buyers should demand to see pertinent documents, read and inspect the details of the documents and contracts closely, engage only with legitimate brokers and sellers, always ask about vague or unstated details in the contract, and move to inspect the site or neighborhood before closing the deal,” he said.
Victims may also file cases with the Department of Justice.
DHSUD and the DOJ are ramping up efforts to suppress and eradicate squatting syndicates in the country through Executive Order 153 which instituted the National Drive Against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates (NDAPSSS).
Last year, the NDAPSSS conducted discussions and provided technical assistance to local government units and homeowners and community associations to correctly identify and monitor local squatting syndicates and how to coordinate with the agency to curtail the illegal operations.
Aside from the DHSUD and DOJ, the NDAPSSS is assisted by the Office of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, departments of the Interior and Local Government and Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Registration Authority, Public Attorney’s Office and Office of the Solicitor General.