Date Posted: 2010-03-05 10:27:00

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is encouraging families who for the longest time have been illegally occupying GSIS-owned houses to enter into a purchase agreement with the pension fund to avoid being evicted.

The GSIS offers these properties at a guaranteed interest rate of 6 percent per annum, the lowest there is in the market, to make housing more affordable for the informal settlers.

“For as low as P3,500 a month for every P500,000 loan, these families can secure themselves of a good future,” Atty. Joseph Philip T. Andres, GSIS VP for Business Development and Accounts Recovery Office said.

According to Atty. Andres, most of the families who are occupying the said properties are not the original awardees who had entered into a Deed of Conditional Sale (DCS) with the GSIS.

“A significant number of these illegal occupants are victims of a syndicate. There is one group reportedly operating in San Francisco Homes in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan who offer houses long abandoned by the original awardees. The group reportedly offers the foreclosed houses for a very low price but their titles are fake,” Atty. Andres said.

“These families end up paying for a property that could never be theirs because the titles are still with the GSIS. The best thing for them to do is to directly deal with the GSIS,” he added.

The GSIS is offering these houses through its asset disposition program called Garantisadong Mababang Amortization na House En Lot Para Sa’yo or GMA HeLPS.

“The program goes for the original awardees also who have long been in default of their payments and whose DCS have already been cancelled by the GSIS,” Atty. Andres said.

GMA HeLPS is open to GSIS members and non-members. Interested buyers can log on to the GSIS website www.gsis.gov.ph to see the complete list of houses available under the GMA HeLPS program.

If in case the property being occupied by an interested buyer is not found in the GSIS website, Atty. Andres advises the buyer to coordinate with his office immediately for the processing and completion of the required documentation.

Launched in May 2007, GMA HeLPS offers a guaranteed 6 percent interest rate, fixed throughout the period of the term. The program also offers a repayment term of up to 30 years, giving home buyers more flexibility.

The program also has easy and multiple payment options, allowing home buyers to squeeze in a few luxuries into their budget. Options include over-the-counter payments, post-dated checks, and salary deductions for members. A three-month grace period is also given before payment of the first monthly amortization.

Unlike banks which have imposed stricter requirements on home buyers in the light of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, GSIS has also waived the application fee for interested parties and demands minimal documentary requirements.

In addition, the program also offers a 10 percent discount for cash sales and the lowest fire insurance premium in the market for purchase of house and lot on installment.

House and lots under the program are located at established communities with amenities. These homes are in over 70 locations, including key cities in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Leyte, Western Samar, and South Cotabato.

The GSIS, under the leadership of its President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia, has been actively re-acquiring properties which payments have long been in default.

In tandem with this, the pension fund is also holding talks with illegal occupants to encourage them to acquire the property to avoid being sued and getting evicted.