Public warned vs squatting syndicates in Taguig

MANILA -- The Taguig City government warned the public against entertaining individuals who sell land in the city at a low price.

Local Housing Office Head Engr. Generoso Ignacio cited in particular the Building Enhancement for Livelihood and Environmental Network (BELEN) Inc. led by one Evelyn Belen Fuentes, which, operates in New Lower Bicutan area.

The syndicate, however, also operates in other parts of Metro Manila such as ParaAaque, Pasig, Novaliches and Quezon City.

Ignacio said the modus operandi of members of the group involves offering to individuals what they say is property along Circumferential Road 6 (C6) at low prices.

To convince prospective victims that they are indeed owners of what they claim as a parcel of land measuring 80.925 hectares, the members of the syndicate show a piece of paper stating that they are transferring the rights to that supposed land to one Belen Fuentes.

The mere piece of paper is signed by Fuentes, and one Lorenzo Villar Elambo, who supposedly initiated the transfer.

What they say of the property, however, turns out to be only water that is part of Laguna de Bay.

These kinds of syndicates are never tolerated in Taguig. They will be prosecuted in accordance with the law, Mayor Lani Cayetano said in a statement.

She highlighted that Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act, for instance, imposes a penalty of six years imprisonment or a fine of not less than PHP60,000 but not more than PHP100,000, or both, depending on the discretion of the court, to groups proven to be squatting syndicates.

Executive Order No. 129 also establishes a mechanism to curtail the activities of professional squatting syndicates and professional squatters, and (intensifies) the drive against them.

It further empowers the local government unit, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor and the Philippine National Police in enforcing the penalty clause of RA 7279.

On December 23, the local government also fenced the area of C6 to ensure that no member of the syndicate will be able to erect structures there.

Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to prevent these syndicates from victimizing people, she added.

Source: Philippine News Agency