Bureaucratic Nightmare Philippine Style

There is no doubt about it, I am going nuts.  And the person responsible for driving me to the edge of insanity is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Three years ago, a family friend, who happens to co-own a parcel of land owned by my parents and my mother’s brother, told us that a road has been paved on this land, and, upon further investigation, she found out it was a DPWH Project.  So we went to claim some compensation of course: they were taking almost 500 sq meters off.

Thence commenced my slow and torturous journey with RED TAPE.

First, I was given a mile-long list of requirements to comply.  Naturally, as I was seeing peso signs everywhere I look, I enthusiastically went on my way to the Register of Deeds, The Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Department of Natural Resources, the City Hall.  After almost a month of priority numbers, of falling in lines, and thousands of pesos expenses, I was able to get hold of a portfolio of documents to hand over to the aforementioned government agency. In exchange, they gave me a really thick folder which read “Contract of Sale.”  I had my father, who was then very sick and could barely hold a pen, sign the deed.  I went back and turned over the folder triumphantly.  Then, this very sweet and gracious young lady smiled and, taking the documents, politely informed me that they will just have the papers signed and for us to wait because THERE ARE NO FUNDS AVAILABLE YET.

After six months of waiting, still no funds.  So I just nodded and said, “yeah, yeah we understand, no problem.”

After two years, my father died.  This nullified the contract of course.  So had to go to the lawyer to have my parents’ estate settled and for me to be given SPA to legally represent my mother and brother.  This took me about a month to accomplish.  After another six months, I was informed that I still lack one document and I had to get it from the City Environment and Natural Resources.  As this office is located in the hills, I had to ride, helmet-less in a public utility single motorcycle.  Talk about adventure huh.  But that was only for request.  I had to go back after 5 working days to claim it. As I could not get away from work, I asked husband to get it for me and submit it and not to forget to ask if there is anything more that had to be accomplished. They told my husband the document was OK.  After a few weeks, they told me there was some discrepancy in that document and I had to go to City Hall to get the land’s History.  So I went to get what was asked. But at this point,  I was already fuming mad and lashing at them with my predictable temper.  They seemed unperturbed by my antagonistic status updates every time I visit their office.  Until I threatened to go to the OMBUDSMAN, that is.

Now, they are the ones chasing after me and knocking themselves out trying to explain what else I need to do to satisfy their endless requirements [no less than the Deputy of RROW who came knocking at my door]. But clearly, this is not the end of the line for me because I had to get a certified true copy of all the preceding titles of this property, which probably date back to the early twenties!  Each printed page costs PHP209.00.  Who knows how many titles are there I had to unearth? I’m way past OMG moment here.  And guess what? The SPA I submitted nine months ago? I was told only yesterday it’s not worded according to what they want. I have to go back to the lawyer and have him change it….

[PS.  They were telling me to check out PD 729290; this law says there is actually no compensation for real property to be used by the Government for the first time. Applicable in our case.  Apparently, the DPWH is not supposed to pay us anything as this is a “first taking”. This was meant to show me I’m an ungrateful wretch.  On deeper analysis, they are the wretched ones. Violating the law. Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Reason’s pretty obvious.]

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