DHSUD issues warning vs squatting syndicates

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) has urged the public to exercise caution when buying property “rights” as this may be a trap employed by squatting syndicates.

Squatting syndicates are unscrupulous groups who profit from squatter housing. They target informal settler communities in large swathes of land to mulct money in exchange for “rights” to live in the claimed property. They 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 of true home ownership. At the same time, it also strips legitimate owners of their right to use, access and enjoy the benefits of their land,” DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said.

“Let this serve as a warning to squatting syndicates. The department takes its mandate seriously and we are committed to protect the dream of every Filipino who wish to own a home,” he stressed.

Absorbing the duty of the former Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, the DHSUD together with the Department of Justice (DOJ) has stepped up the government’s effort to suppress and eradicate squatting syndicates in the country by virtue of Executive Order 153, series of 2002, which instituted the National Drive against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates or NDAPSSS.

The department intensified its crackdown against squatting syndicates following Secretary Del Rosario’s memorandum issued in October that cascaded the drive down to the regional level.

Last year, the NDAPSSS conducted more than 121 webinars and provided technical assistance to 20 local government units, homeowners’ associations, community associations and individuals to correctly identify and monitor local squatting syndicates and how to coordinate with the Department and proper agencies to effectively curtail the syndicates’ operations.

Meanwhile, home buyers may verify a suspected title with the Registry of Deeds to ensure its legitimacy. 

In addition, Secretary Del Rosario also advised the public to follow his DREAM tips—Demand, Read, Engage, Ask and Move—to avoid being scammed when purchasing property. 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.  

The victims may also file cases with the DOJ.

Aside from the DHSUD and DOJ, the NDAPSSS is supported and 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.