By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
After city officials recently took part in a seminar by the National Drive Against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates (NDAPSSS), in an effort to discuss ways of dealing with professional squatters, or informal settlers who utilize fraudulent titles and documents, Bacolod City Legal Officer, Atty. Joselito Bayatan, said no professional squatters have been identified in the city.
He noted, the current concern regarding squatters is the relocation of illegal settlers, particularly those who have set up residence at the Vendor’s Plaza.
According to a statement by City Administrator John Orola earlier this month, the said squatters should have been evicted last week.
Bayatan added, the Vendor’s Plaza is supposed to be a place of business.
NDAPSSS legal, anti-squatting, and external affairs group head, Atty. Angelito Aguila, elaborated on professional squatters, saying some operate as syndicates.
He said many professional squatters can afford to buy or rent a property, but choose to squat on other properties and making a living out of it.
“They can be held criminally liable under the urban development and housing act of 1992,” said Aguila.
He added, landowners with problems regarding professional squatters can consult his organization to pursue criminal charges.
Bayatan noted, with the guidelines set by NDAPSSS, city officials are now capable of running after professional squatters and squatting syndicates if discovered./WDJ