Eviction and/or demolition
Professional squatters or members of squatting syndicates shall be penalized.
Congress had passed Republic Act No. 7279 to provide socialized housing to informal settlers.
Philippines is beset with informal settlers because of poverty. However, some have taken advantage of the unfortunate situation by unscrupulously building houses for enrichment. They are the professional squatters. Section 27 of RA 7279, provides:
“Any person or group identified as such shall be summarily evicted and their dwellings or structures demolished, and shall be disqualified to avail of the benefits of the Program. xxx”
Which office of the government shall be responsible to identify the professional squatters? According to the same section, it is the local government units, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), and the PCUP-accredited urban poor organizations in the area, are responsible to adopt measures to identify and effectively curtail the nefarious and illegal activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates.
Said law, also, mandated the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to promulgate the rules and regulations for the administration of RA 7279 that took effect on March 24, 1992.
On September 24, 1992, then DILG Secretary Rafael M. Alunan, Jr., and then HUDCC Chairman Zorayda Amelia C. Alonzo issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations to Ensure the Observance of Proper and Humane Relocation and Resettlement Procedures Mandated by the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (IRR).
The IRR does not apply to those squatters who constructed their structure after March 248 1992.
Before eviction or demolition, negotiations and arrangement are finalized between the proponent Local Government Unit (LGU) and the government agency authorized to demolish and the recipient LGU on the resettlement site.
The LGU is responsible to determine the physical boundary of the land to be cleared of squatters. The same office shall attach the tag card with corresponding number to every structure for identification, inventory and control of illegal construction. LGU shall prepare preliminary listing of the names of owners/households of the affected houses/structures. A structural map shall be prepared and used to locate the structures and identify the names of the owners. Every dismantled structure shall be cross-out to prevent the possibility of new or disqualified families from claiming residency on cleared lots.
A written notice shall be issued to the affected persons by the LGU. The LGU or government agency authorized to demolish shall preside over the consultation meeting to be attended by the Barangay Chairman, the affected families and the landowners.
The IRR requires the attendance of representatives from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor and the Commission on Human Rights to monitor and observe the actual operations during the demolition and resettlement.
The IRR provided the venue for grievances of violation of the rules and regulations. Complaints against local government executives shall be filed and prepared in accordance with Section 61 of the Local Government Code (RA 7160) through DILG. For subordinate officials under the local chief executives shall be filed with the office of mayor. Complaints against officials of other national agencies may be filed with the Office of the President, the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Human Rights or Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
How about the professional squatters or those who constructed their houses/structures after March 28, 1992?
On November 3, 1993, then HUDCC Chairman Dionisio dela Cerna and Sec. Alunan issued IRR Governing Summary Eviction. The LGU in cooperation with the PCUP, Philippine National Police (PNP), and accredited Urban Poor Organization (UPO), shall identify them and the Summary Eviction Notice shall be signed by the mayor or his authorized representative
The Notice shall be served by personal delivery to the squatter family. Persons who refuse to leave he structure shall be moved out by force. The Barangay Official present shall be required to assist the dismantling team to perform the demolition.
It is a harsh eviction or demolition; which has been changed on September 19, 2008 Memorandum Circular No. 2008-143 issued by then DILG Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno in accordance with Executive Order No. 708, series 2008, that mandated the creation of Local Housing Boards (LHB).
HLB is headed by the mayor with six members. HLB is tasked to be the sole clearing house for eviction and demolition activities, whether voluntary, extra-judicial, summary, or court-ordered.
All proponents of an eviction and demolition, that is, national government department, agency, institution or local government, has to secure first the Board a Compliance Certificate.
This information is for others to know that there is a penalty for violating the procedure on the eviction or demolition. Non-compliance shall be penalized for not more than six (6) years imprisonment or fine not less than Php5,000 or more than Php100,000. (Feedback welcome, firstname.lastname@example.org)
By: Fidel D. Banzon
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