CITY OF CALAMBA, Laguna (PIA) — Regional line agencies and law enforcement bureaus in the Calabarzon region have formally launched the CALABARZON Regional Anti-Illegal Real Estate Practices Inter-Agency Task Force on Wednesday, November 23 at the Ayala Greenfield Estate, Calamba City, Laguna, as part of the government's effort in providing mechanisms to address illegal real estate transactions.
The Inter-Agency Task Force is composed of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) IV-A, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) IV-A, Department of Justice (DOJ) Region IV, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) IV-A, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) IV-A, Land Registration Authority (LRA) IV-A, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) IV-A, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The task force has been formed as DHSUD continues to receive an alarming number of verified reports concerning real estate-related illegal transactions specifically on housing, subdivision, and condominium projects. Such transactions involve unregistered developers, real estate brokers, agents among others, who are selling units without proper project certificates or registration and licenses to sell.
In his remarks, DHSUD IV-A Regional Director Atty. Jann Roby Otero appealed for a 'united front' among government agencies and the private sector in addressing the problems on illegal real estate practices by institutionalizing the the collective strategies and goals of each agencies.
"What we are doing here right now is actually a marriage between public and private, and a collaboration not only of our time, our efforts, and also hopefully you'll also be sharing your resources," Otero said.
He added, "Yung mga gaps, 'yung mga challenges, naa-address natin because we have a well-thought out plan, nailatag natin ang kayang gawin ng bawat isa, at kung hanggang saan kaya. Doon natin tatahiin ngayon ang ating strategy or approach towards colorum or itong mga hinahabol nating illegal real estate practitioners."
Otero also appealed to government communicators, particularly to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), to help the department in spreading factual and verified information to the masses to avoid being scammed out of their hard-earned money.
"Isa sa mga bagay na naging challenge sa DHSUD, in general, would be nadadaig kami ng mga scammers or illegal real estate practitioners in terms of communications. We need PIA, along with the media partners, and information officers ng bawat government agency na nandito na baka pwedeng gumawa ng isang [communication] or product na pwedeng i-share [mula DHSUD] sa inyo."
Otero declares that DHSUD will continue on its mandate to go after illegal practitioners, and hopes that the task force members and private real estate boards will also do their part in ensuring the success of their pledged commitments.
"It is my position in this region, I have no patience for illegal practitioners. Especially developers na matagal na sa real estate, matagal nang nagne-neogosyo. Alam naman nating lahat na dapat magkaroon ng lisensya yet nagbebenta pa rin knowing na ganun nga ang nangyayari, hindi pwede sa DHSUD 'yan."
PNP Police Regional Office (PRO) IV-A Assistant Chief for the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD) P/Lt. Col Wildemar Tiu meanwhile pledges full support in the implementation of the task force's goals and vows to go after the "fly-by-night" developers, brokers, agents, and salespersons.
Tiu said that aside from educating the public, PRO IV-A will also conduct an information drive among their ranks to ensure that the police will be aware of the laws, decrees, and regulations relating to real estate.
PRO IV-A will also pilot data gathering, validation and evaluation phase with appropriate regional government agencies, conduct complete background investigation to developers and brokers with records of violations, and information, education, and communication (IEC) operations to increase awareness on the prevalent modus operandi.
The NBI IV-A on its part, also commits to monitor the activities of individuals and/or syndicates engaged in real estate practices, investigate complaints filed by victims and file the necessary complaint before the Office of the Prosecutor, and to maximize its coordinate with regional line agencies and local government units.
Those who will be found liable will be charged in violation of Republic Act No. 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines and Presidential Decree No. 957 or Regulating the Sale of Subdivision Lots and Condominiums, Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof.
According to PNP PRO IV-A Crimes Database, there have been no cases filed yet in the whole CALABARZON region in accordance to RA 9646 and PD 957, but there have been 16 notices of violation already issued this year according to DHSUD.
Some of the tips given by the authorities to avoid being scammed by illegal real estate practitioners include; 1. Ask a license to sell to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, 2. Proceed to the Registry of Deeds and ask a copy of title and compare it to the title of the Seller, 3. Never give or transfer money directly to your agent and; 4. Always validate the title being presented to the buyer with a copy of certificate of title from the Registry of Deeds. (CH/PIA-Laguna)