TACLOBAN CITY- City Councilor Emmanuel Domingo revealed that they are conducting an investigation over reports of a “fraudulent scheme” involving a housing project in the northern part of the city.

The investigation came in the wake of complaints received by him from individuals who were able to buy lots in Barangay Bagacay, one of the areas identified by the city government as a relocation site for victims of super typhoon Yolanda who totally lost their houses.

The complainants alleged that they are being asked to pay to the company that oversees the development of the housing site without being given receipts and proofs of necessary documents, Domingo, who chairs the committee on engineering, said.

The housing project, involving 400 units, is supposed to be under the CMP or community mortgage program of the national government. It was learned that the Brigham group, which manages the housing project in Bagacay, asks P1, 600 each for a 40 square meter lot. According to Councilor Domingo, many of those who were able to secure lots at the said housing project would like to be clarified if the Brigham group has the necessary documents like reclassification of the land from being agricultural to residential and a development permit from the city government.

In view of this complaint, the city council’s committees on engineering, urban poor and laws are jointly conducting an investigation on this matter. During their initial committee hearing, the officials of the Brigham group were given a checklist containing the needed requirements for them to comply, Domingo said. The councilor said that the Brigham group could not legally sell any lots in the area unless they were issued a development permit. Meanwhile, Siony Sia, one of the officials of the Brigham group said that they are a legal entity.

She explained that the money paid by the lot owners are deposited at the Philippine National Bank as mandated by Social Housing Finance Corporation. Sia said that they have a validated bank receipts as their proof. She also said that they have the documents which they submitted before City Planning and Development Office which could easily be checked. (LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA)