Government takes another steps in fight against Philippine real estate scammers (政府採取另一個步驟打擊菲律賓房地產騙子)

Date: Feb 17, 2021

Late last year, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) had started their campaign to get rid of fake agents and illegal developers in the Real Estate industry. The department has formed a special body that will pursue the Philippine real estate scammers.

“We need to put a stop to these illegal activities through institutionalized proactive efforts in collaboration with our stakeholders, national and local government units, law enforcement agencies, including legitimate developers, who are also victims of these scammers,” Sec. Eduardo del Rosario said in a statement to the Philippine News Agency.

The DHSUD has created a technical working group (TWG), under DHSUD’s Special Order No. 2021-002, led by DHSUD Undersecretary Meynardo Sabili. 

The TWG will engage all stakeholders to address illegal transactions and other issues in the Philippine housing industry. It will also review all laws, rules and regulations relevant to the prevention and elimination of illegal real estate activities nationwide as well as look at unlicensed developers and agents who continue to operate without legal documents.

“We should be relentless in our campaign to protect home buyers and legitimate workers in the real estate industry,” del Rosario proclaimed.

Real estate scammers are still a problem

Philippine real estate scammers have plagued the real estate sector for years now. 

In 2020, a new wave of unregistered developers and real estate brokers were caught illegally selling properties in the country using social media.

An example of this is the ongoing massive development project in Baguio City which was reported to have no permit from the LGU and is not registered with the DHSUD in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). del Rosario immediately ordered an investigation on the project to avoid any substandard housing projects. This is to ensure that all housing units and projects under the Duterte administration are of good quality yet affordable, as ge vows anew to provide adequate, resilient, and low-cost homes for Filipino people.

Another example of this illegal activity are the real estate scammers posing as property professionals that would promise buyers units in existing projects at below market value prices before disappearing once payment has been made.
The arrest of four suspected real estate scammers in Cavite last December 11, 2020 conducted by the joint entrapment operation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) in Barangay Sucat, Alfonso. Arrested were Joana Marie Cruzada and Joana Marie Viray, both residents of Alfonso; Felmarich Dagohoy, resident of Taguig City; and Jovannie Cruz from Angat, Bulacan. Authorities said these suspects were involved in selling real estate properties at Alta Vista Homes without holding a 'Certificate of Registration and License to Sell' from the housing department. The suspects claimed to be part of 1Premier Land Marketing Company, an alleged marketing arm of home developer Alta Vista. However, DHSUD found out that the company is not legally registered.

There have also been reports of some people trying to facilitate a deal by acting as a middleman without informing either side. Both examples go against regulations issued by the Housing and Land use Regulatory Board.

A warning to the public against scammers

Housing czar Secretary Eduardo del Rosario reminded anew the public to be vigilant against bogus developers and brokers engaged in illegal real estate transactions.

He warns the public to be watchful at all times to avoid falling prey to unlicensed developers and other bogus brokers or salespeople, who are operating without legal documents.

Del Rosario said those who would like to become real-estate brokers must ensure to comply with government requirements and standards.

"It shall serve as a stern warning to all. DHSUD, along with our partner law enforcement agencies like the NBI, means business in our drive against scammers and we are committed to protecting the public from these sinister activities."

Del Rosario vowed to run after illegal activities related to the government's housing and human settlement projects.

"Let me stress that we will not stop until these unscrupulous individuals in the real estate industry are arrested and put behind bars," he said.

References: Philippine News Agency