CAVEAT EMPTOR. So cautioned the old Romans of buyers to beware of the guiles and wiles of vendors. Something akin to the American warning, “Don’t trust a used car salesman.”
    As – P.T. Barnum immortalized – “there’s a sucker born every minute,” so there’s always a trickster out there to suck him off his last penny.

    Beware of all sellers. Be very aware especially of the smooth talker with the “best deal in town.” Go always by the rule: If it is too good to be true, most certainly it is not true.
    Especially in the cases of housing developers.

    “We build communities, not simply houses.” So just about every developer advertises, yet so many end up building…communities, yes, of shanties and pigsties, utterly devoid of the most basic amenities.

    Then, there are the so-called gated communities. No, these are not in any way even remotely similar to the stateside kind – fenced-in and guarded, with electronic gates for safety and security of the homeowners – but developments that start and end with the construction of gates. The developers having taken the buyers’ money and ran. 

    “Affordability” is a much-abused advertising cliché in the housing industry too. Beware buyers, affordability in the developer’s lexicon is not always synonymous to “liveability.” A very affordable P2,900 per month house and lot may be liveable only to the family pet.
    “Our expertise in building housing projects will uplift the lives of the workers.” So I read some housing honcho said somewhere. Other friends read that too – including those that bought housing units at Metro Clark Homes in Mawaque, Mabalacat.

    “So since when did overflowing toilet bowls, cracked walls and uneven floors, leaking roofs and busted pipes become uplifting to our lives?” So asked Maria Cecilia M. (full name withheld upon her request), who was so frustrated with the first house she called her own that she refused to pay her monthly amortization and left with more relief than regret when the house was repossessed by Pag-Ibig.

    The same sentiment was shared by Francisco F. and Reginaldo N. (full names also withheld upon request).

    “Mas maigi na ang mangupahan sa isang disenteng bahay, kaysa manirahan sa bahay na pag-aari mo ngang masasabi ay mistula namang babuyan.”  (Better to be renting a decent house than owning a virtual pigsty.) So said Miss Maricel.

    And it seems that is not only homeowners who gnash their teeth at Metro Clark Homes. Farmers too who allege that Metro Clark Homes has turned the Mabiga Creek into an open sewage.

    “Sa sapa po ang pinakalabasan ng imburnal ng Metro Clark kaya ang dating malinis na patubig sa aming mga palayan ay naging napakaitim sa kabulukan. At ito po ay dumadaloy hanggang sa Sapang Biyabas, tuloy-tuloy na sa Magalang.”   (Sewage from Metro Clark drains to the creek, polluting its water that we use to irrigate our farms. And this flows down to the Sapang Biyabas creek, onto Magalang town.) So complained Joaquin F. (full name also withheld upon request) to a newsman researching on   pollution in the area.
    So why has he not taken his concerns to the authorities?

    “Malaki po’t maimpluwensiya ang makakalaban namin, abang magbubukid lamang kami. Sino ang kanilang kakampihan?”  (Whom we would go against is influential, we are but humble farmers. Who will the authorities favor?)

    We await the response of Metro Clark Homes. We are willing to cede this space to its side of this issue.

    Read again from somewhere a developer: “When individuals and families own their home, they establish roots in their communities and have a greater stake in the growth, safety and development of their towns and cities.” So true. So very true. Depending on the kind of homes they own. Not the Metro Clark Homes complained about here, most assuredly.  
    Comparisons are always odious, yes. But comparisons are the best way to get to the real deal in anything vended. So it is with housing developments.

    The benchmark for housing development hereabouts is now Xevera Bacolor. The first and only promised community – exceeding all the amenities for even the uppity estates – come to full realization, in record time yet. Consider a modern two-storey municipal hall, an air-conditioned parish church, schools with the latest IT gadgets, a commercial area a la Eastwood at Libis, a wet and dry market, a clubhouse for social functions, a large swimming pool, basketball court and sports area, full 24/7 security, an ambulance, firetruck, garbage truck, commuter mini-vans. Now, that’s a community. A wholesome, highly liveable community.

    No other on-going housing development can come anywhere remotely close to Xevera.
    So buyers, beware. Baka kayo ma-tanso, ng kung sinong hausiao lang.  (Don’t be fooled by just any crafty scalawag of a developer).      


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