Marawi rehabilitation

COA uncovers problems in Marawi relocation project
COA uncovers problems in Marawi relocation project

REHABILITATION. On Monday, September 6, 2021, congress passed house bill 9925 into the Marawi Compensation Act which will compensate residents of the Most Affected Area for the damages of the loss of their properties and businesses.

Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

State auditors spot a possible land title mess in this project supported by the UN Habitat

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit uncovered possible problems in the turnover of residential units under the  Marawi Shelter Project, the program tasked to provide homes for families displaced by the war spawned by the 2017 Marawi siege. 

State auditors revealed that the foremost area of concern was that two years after millions of pesos had been released as partial payment, the relocation lot was still registered under the name of the deceased original owner.

Since 2021, the government has turned over 200 certificates of house and lot in two batches of beneficiaries of the “Project for Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood Support.” 

Phase 1 of the program, dubbed the Hadiya Village, consisted of 109 recipients who were awarded on February 25, 2021. The Phase 2 or the Darussalam Village batch distributed 120 lots on July 28.

Spearheading the housing program is the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).

Distributed during both turnover events were certificates of house and lot awards signed by the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development (DHSUD), the mayor of Marawi, the SHFC, and the UN Habitat (United Nations Human Settlement Programme).

COA said over P9 million has been released and paid initially to the seller in 2019.

The breakdown of payment is:

  • Hadiya Village with an area of 2.26 hectares, an acquisition cost of P6.22 million, and P1.744 million already released;
  • Darussalam Village measures 13.387 hectares, priced P36.814 million at P275 per square meter (similar to Phase 1),  P7.36 million has already.

The problem with this sale, COA said, was that the Transfer Certificate Title (TCT) for both lots remained under the name of the deceased original owner.

The release of the initial payment was approved by the SHFC Board through Resolution No. 940, s. 2021.

COA noted: “The basis of the approval by the Board of the interim payment is the submission of the retrieved copy of BIR certification showing that the property sold to SHFC was donated by the father of the deceased lot owner to his son, the seller.” 

So far, as of the release of the COA findings, there has been no action to reconstitute the TCT.

“It was also observed, that for more than two years since the release of the first tranche of 20 per cent on the cost of the lot in January 2019 for Phase I and II, the landowners have not yet complied with the requirements for the release of the 2nd to 4th tranches of the payments,” the COA said.

Before further payments could be made, the following requirements are needed: 

  • owner’s duplicate copy and Registrar of Deeds (RD) certified copy of reconstituted title, 
  • Deed of Absolute Sale, 
  • and owner’s duplicate copy and RD certified copy of the title in the name of the SHFC, 
  • and tax declaration in the SHFC’s name.

COA said: “Delay in the compliance by the landowners on the submission of duplicate and RD copies of TCT in the name of the SHFC and other documents, resulted in delay of the individualization of the TCT in favor of the qualified home partners and may expose the SHFC to possible risk of loss of funds invested in housing projects.” 

Aside from the issue that TCT remained under the name of the late owner, COA also uncovered more problems with the relocation sites.

For one, while the TCT showed that the land was free from other adverse claims or encumbrance, this was not the case.

An investigation SHFC found out there was a small hut built on the property. And when the initial payment was released to the seller, five more clans claimed a stake in the property.

One of these claimants built a concrete structure, while the rest fenced portions of the lot that they were claiming.

There are is also an issued in the size of the property.

The SHFC ordered a resurvey and this resulted into a reduced the lot area to just 6.76 hectares based on the location of concrete monuments (mujon) established by surveyors.

Then later, the project contractor, which is required under the terms of reference (TOR) to conduct a relocation survey, found that the SHFC’s surveyors only conducted a “table survey.” The project contractor said the actual area that can be developed uncontested by other claimants was only 2.68 hectares. –