Squatting is now against the law in Quezon City
by FFE PH News Staff
Quezon City Mayor Herbert ‘Bistek’ Bautista on 9 January has signed into law a directive that allows barangay officials and local anti-squatting units to evict professional squatters who illegally build structures in public and privately-owned land.
This directive also enforces a strict implementation of the 1992 anti-squatting law called the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) that aims to ‘identify and effectively curtail the nefarious and illegal activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates.’
Under UDHA, a professional squatter is a person or group that occupies a piece of land without the express permission of the landowner.
The new law says ‘The incessant nefarious activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates, construction of illegal structures in both public and private lands in the barangay continue to proliferate to the great prejudice, damage and disadvantage of the registered landowner and legitimate barangay inhabitants.’
Protection of public lands is important for the barangay as they could be used to ‘build community facilities like health centers, school buildings, sports complexes or multi-purpose halls.’
In the new law, barangay chairmen and the local Task Force for the Control, Prevention and Removal of Illegal Structures and Squatting (COPRISS) are to ‘summarily evict all persons conducting an on-going construction of any structure in public and private lands within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City without the express consent of the registered landowner or the necessary building permit from the city government and to demolish such structure.’
Barangay officials and the local Task Force COPRISS should also comply with certain conditions during the demolition, including wearing of proper uniform and identification and maintaining peace and order. The barangay officials and COPRISS are then required to submit a report to the office of the mayor.