The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development on Sunday called on the public to exercise caution when buying property “rights” as this may be a trap employed by syndicates.
“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,” 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 protecting the dream of every Filipino who wish to own a home,” he added.
According to Del Rosario, a squatting syndicate is an unscrupulous group that profits from squatter housing, and targets informal settler communities in large swathes of land to mulct money in exchange for “rights” to live in the claimed property.
A syndicate also use fakes documents and titles to sell or convince victims of its legitimacy.
The DHSUD, along with the Department of Justice, has stepped up the government’s effort to suppress and eradicate squatting syndicates by virtue of Executive Order 153 of 2002, which instituted the National Drive Against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates or NDAPSSS.
According to Del Rosario, the department has intensified its crackdown against squatting syndicates following the issuance of the memorandum last October that cascaded the drive down to the regional level.
A home buyer may verify a suspected title with the Registry of Deeds to ensure its legitimacy, the housing czar said, advising the public to follow his DREAM tips – demand, read, engage, ask and move – to avoid being scammed when purchasing property.
The victim may also file cases with the justice department. The NDAPSSS is supported and assisted by the Presidential.