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Cebu News

Families to be removed from Pepang this week

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- Relocation of families occupying the Roman Catholic Cemetery or the Doña Pepang Cemetery can be expected this week after the court denied for the third time the request of former congressman Tomas Osmeña to stop the same.

Wendell Asenas, acting chief of City Hall’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement  team, said they are now preparing both the manpower and equipment needed for the operation.

“Nagpadala mi og tawo karon alongside with DWUP (Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor) to map out the final preparations for the clearing operation,” Asenas told reporters yesterday.

He said the relocation site in Barangay Lorega San Miguel is ready and it is now just a matter of assigning specific lots to the estimated 40 families that would be transferred.

In his regular press conference yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama reminded his men of his marching order that “no one should be displaced.” He also said the decision to use the property in Barangay Lorega does not lie with the barangay.

“It’s not for Barangay Lorega (to decide since the area for the relocation) is a public property, hence who owns the property would be in a better position to make the judgment,” Rama said.

We don’t intend to let them out just anywhere since they are a part of Lorega, some a part of Tejero. I am pretty sure that can be addressed very well… and if the circumstances warrant then, shall we say, (we might) consider another relocation site,” he said.

The city government plans to convert the 9,282-square meter cemetery, situated along M.J. Cuenco Avenue in Barangay Tejero, into a heritage park.

Court ruling

In ruling on Osmeña’s request, Regional Trial Court Judge Alexander Acosta said Osmeña’s motion for a temporary restraining order is premature.

“…considering the main case has been dismissed and subject to omnibus motion for reconsideration, admission of amended petition and amended petition in intervention, the TRO is hereby denied for being premature,” Acosta ruled in open court.

Osmeña’s family owns the Osmeña Mausoleum located at the cemetery.

The cemetery was previously owned by the Archdiocese of Cebu but was swapped with a city-owned lot in Barangay Pasil.The city then entered into an agreement with the Archdiocese to convert the cemetery into a park.

But Osmeña argued, “The informal settlers paid rentals to the Catholic Church. The subject lot was originally owned by the Catholic Church. The subject lot was not yet transferred to the name under the City of Cebu.”

Osmeña told the media he has the right over the property as a citizen. He said he also needs to stand up for the informal settlers because they were afraid.

“I feel sorry that we have a government like this,” he said.

Help

Even with the court ruling and despite the bad weather yesterday, some of the affected residents marched to the Archbishop’s Palace to ask the Archdiocese of Cebu to intervene in the case.

Unfortunately, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma was not around when the residents arrived there.

In an interview over dyAB, one of the residents said they want the church to ask the court to reconsider its decision and to lobby for the city government for a relocation site that is more “habitable” than the one in Barangay Lorega San Miguel.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the concerns of the residents will be discussed in a proper forum of the administrative council.

Tan said Palma will be the one to call and convene the council to tackle the plight of the underprivileged residents.

“As the church is willing to offer what it can be of assistance in the spirit of dialogue leading to understanding,” Tan told The Freeman. — MylenP. Manto, May B. Miasco and Kristine B. Quintas/JMO

ACIRC

ARCHDIOCESE OF CEBU

ATILDE

BARANGAY

BARANGAY LOREGA

BARANGAY LOREGA SAN MIGUEL

BARANGAY PASIL

BARANGAY TEJERO

CATHOLIC CHURCH

OSME

PLUSMN

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