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Dec 04th
Home Sections Politics The Need for "Title Insurance" Is Another Reason OFWs Must Organize a Political Party
The Need for "Title Insurance" Is Another Reason OFWs Must Organize a Political Party PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Sunday, 15 July 2007 08:06

There have been too many sad stories about some developers and/or land owners in the Philippines swindling Overseas-Filipino buyers (OFB) in real-estate transactions and/or construction of houses. Almost all of the Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) and immigrants know of a friend or a kin who had been victimized by crooks masquerading as real-estate developers, builders or contractors. And there is nothing really that can protect the OFBs, the OFWs and local buyers of real estate from the scam artists.


Despite representation made by leaders of OFW organizations, Philippine Congress has refused to pass legislation creating a "title insurance" mechanism. Filipino senators and congresspersons know what "title insurance" means and how it works in progressive countries like the United States. They make frequent visits to the United States and other countries where they talk to the OFWs about badly-needed legislation and fundamental structural reforms. Yet, when the legislators go back to Manila, they simply prove to all that they work in a NATO fashion. NATO, as in "No Action, Talk Only" ("NATO," as coined by Rotarian Ernie Delfin of Fountain Valley, California).

For the record, Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) filed a bill in 1999 that called for the creation of a Title Insurance Division in the Philippine Insurance Commission but his bill died a natural death for lack of support. Vested interests in the country lobbied against it. It was not acted upon by the Senate and Filipino senators continue to ignore it for the next nine years (and counting).

The need for "title insurance" in the Philippines is another good reason the OFWs must organize a political party. The OFWs must field candidates for the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives in the coming 2010 elections. This may be the only way to assure passage of legislation that would protect the OFWs, their relatives and the public in general. The present legislators, with some notable exceptions, are just beholden to vested interests. In the final analysis, many of the country’s leaders in the three branches of the government simply do nothing but maintain and protect the status quo.

This is what Jarius Bondoc wrote recently in The Philippine Star:

QUOTE. Imagine yourself to be one of eight-million Filipinos working day and night in a strange land, suffering separation from family if only to earn enough to one day buy them a home where you can finally rejoin them in retirement. And then you find out that, precisely because of your absence from the country, someone ripped you off.

That is the story behind a letter from reader Ronaldo H. Balas, who is at wit's end and has no other recourse but to make public his complaint, to wit:

"I am writing to The STAR because you might help resolve our problem with Atlanta Land Corp. We are OFWs presently working in Dubai, UAE.

"Sometime in 1996 we purchased a parcel of land in one of Atlanta Land's projects in Cabanatuan City named Grand Victoria Estates, Block 21, Lot 9. After seven years of paying P450,000 including interest, we are left hanging.

"We were able to fully pay the total contract price plus interest four years ago. Up to now, however, the Transfer Certificate of Title is still with the company, despite our several demands for turnover.

"We are victims.

"Mr. Jonathan Herbert Uy, marketing administration head of Atlanta Land, responded on April 7, 2006 to our letter of complaint, and said that: (1) they acknowledge receipt of our payment, (2) they already have remitted our payment to their joint venture partners Aloida Santos and Corazon Santos, and (3) they thus advise us to directly coordinate with Aloida and Corazon Santos.

"We then communicated with Aloida and Corazon Santos, but were informed that Atlanta Land had not remitted any money to them, so they cannot release to us the Transfer Certificate of Title.

"What should we do next? They are pointing to each other after collecting from us a huge amount. Is this the way they do business? Beware.

"Attachments: (1) Letter dated April 7, 2006, from Mr. Jonathan Herbert Uy; (2) Copy of original Transfer Certificate of Title (No. I-91714) in the names of Aloida Santos and Corazon Santos."

This is potential fraud. Ronaldo can file a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice. It's also a consumer case. Ronaldo can file a separate complaint with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board for release of his title.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez reportedly acknowledges that greedy developers have duped hundreds, possibly thousands of OFWs. He also sees the overlap of DOJ and HLURB functions, and the resulting difficulty victims face in seeking redress. Gonzalez reportedly will meet with Vice President Noli de Castro, head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, to reconcile the disciplining work of the DOJ and HLURB.

Let's hope Ronaldo gets his land title so he can build his dream house soon. Also, that the authorities put a stop once and for all to the racket of developers and joint-venture partners of taking the money and running while pointing at each other to confuse the homebuyer. UNQUOTE.
--- As written by Jarius Bondoc, in his column GOTCHA, The Philippine Star, and as reprinted in several e-forums by Ms. Winda of # # #

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Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2008 00:12

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If a man will begin with certainties,he shall end with doubts;but if he will be content to begin with doubts,he shall end in certainties.-- Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626