Official warns of illegal housing projects in Davao region

By Warren Valdez

DAVAO CITY - A government official here has urged the public to be wary of illegal housing projects in the city.
Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Davao officer-in-charge Miguel Palma Gil said in an interview on Friday, February 28, that they were currently going after illegal housing projects developers not only in Davao City, but the entire Davao region.

“Do not buy a project if they do not have a license to sell (Huwag bumili ng project pag walang license to sell),” Gil said, stressing that they have been monitoring illegal subdivision projects in Indangan and Communal areas here, as well as the housing projects in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.

“Sina-subdivide nila na walang lisensya, walang development permit (They are subdividing it without a license, without development permit,” he said.

Gil also reported that said his office, together with City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) Assistant Coordinator Roy Ryan Rigo, recently conducted a joint inspection last Thursday at an area in Barangay Communal, Buhangin District, “as they were ordered by the city mayor (Mayor Sara Duterte) to look into the problem.

“Kasi may nag-raise ng problem na yung kanal daw nila na-blocked. Only to find out that they were complaining na yung kanilang subdivision is an illegal subdivision project (Because there were complaints that there drainages were blocked. Only to find out they were complaining that there subdivision is an illegal subdivision project),” he said.

Gil noted that most of these illegal housing projects (subdivisions) did not have “proper canal systems, proper road system, and proper road networks.”

The DHSUD officer however, could not yet identify the name of the developer/subdivision as it “because it does not have a license (unregistered).

“I asked who sold the property, and the seller’s whereabouts could no longer be located,” he added.

Asked if there are other illegal subdivision projects in the city, Gil said “in Davao City, before (the list) it was only 17 (identified projects), but I am getting reports that the number is increasing,” he said.

He bared that on August 14, when Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario called DHSUD for a meeting, Gil “asked him (del Rosario) to strengthen the Task Force P.D. 957 to go after those illegal subdivision developers – to file complaints against them.”

“Because they (developers) are mandated by law to provide the minimum standards set under B.P. 220 and P.D. 957 para sa ilahang mga buyers or sa ilang clients,” Gil said.

Presidential Decree (PD) 957 is a law regulating the sale of subdivision lots and condominiums in view of the increasing number of incidents wherein “real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations to proved and maintain properly” the basic requirements and amenities, as well as “reports of alarming magnitude….of swindling and fraudulent manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers and operators.

Batas Pambansa (BP) 220, meanwhile, authorizes the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to establish and promulgate different levels of standards and technical requirements for the development of economic and socialized housing projects.

Gil noted that there were many existing housing developers in the region who were into illegal activities of such projects in a “piecemeal approach.”

Piecemeal approach refers to the unsystematic or fragmentary measure of dividing and acquisition of a particular land property.

“They are subdividing it with no proper road networks. There are two-meter roads, three meters, 4 meters in span, no electricity and no water supply,” he said, stressing that many are enticed because it is being sold at a low price.

“The other lots do not have occupants. So some are being sold as empty lots. Some clients will be shown that the property is a beachfront…(case in point) beachfront of Samal,” he said.

He cited that Samal Island is “suffering in these kind of illegal subdivision projects," pointing out that there were proposed network roads in the island that which have not been materialized as the areas were converted into subdivisions.

“It turned into subdivision as houses were already put up in the middle of the supposed roads (without coordination with the local government,” he added.

High-rise building

Gil clarified, however, that there were no high-rise buildings or projects involved in these illegal activities as the construction of these buildings can immediately be noticed and inspected by government authorities.

“If it is a high rise building, they can immediately be seen, they will never be given a building permit (if they are not licensed). They will also be required of an excavation permit should they decide on digging up the area,” Gil said.

He bared that they will continue to go after these illegal housing projects.

“We already have initiated the filing of cases. Admin and criminal cases because these are estafa cases,” he said.