Settlers bent on staying along Mahiga
(The Freeman) - September 21, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Informal settlers along Mahiga Creek in Sitio Mahusay, Mandaue City whose houses the city government ordered demolished yesterday are bent on staying at the area until the city can provide them a better relocation site.

“Bisa’g guba na among barungbarong, magpabilin gihapon mi diri kay ngano? Wala man mi tagai sa pamunoan sa gobiyerno og among kapuy-an… basta klaro ang kabutangan namo, mobalhin mi,” said Ofelia Betorico, president of the Sitio Mahusay Homeowners’ Association.

There are 92 families living along Mahiga Creek.

Felix Suico, head of the Mandaue City Risk Reduction Management Office, said the city has already allocated a portion of a 6.5 hectare lot in Barangay Paknaan as a relocation site but the association said living at the area is even more dangerous than living along the creek.

“Moingon sila danger zone mi diri… dili danger zone amoa. Ibalhin mi nila ngadto sa death zone, didto sa Paknaan. Mas lapok didto unya huyang ang yuta didto… basta dili pa maayong kapuy-an, ilabi na karong ting-uwan,” Betorico said.

Lawyer Giovanni Tianero of the City Legal Office said they will continue the clearing operations to move the settlers to the relocation site to prevent them from being victimized by possible flashfloods.

“It is but fair to do the clearing operations fast because of the heavy rains. Dili ta maghuwat (nga naa’y mahitabong dili maayo),” Tianero said.

Tianero said the clearing operation has legal basis and that a pre-demolition conference was held together with the Housing and Urban Development Office.

Marie Paz Abad, secretary of Sitio Mahayag Homeowners’ Association, said if this is what the city intends to do, they will bring their belongings in front of the City Hall and sleep there.

“Ug papahawaon gyod ta ninyo, adto ta (atubangan) sa City Hall mangatulog,” Abad said.

Teody Navea, secretary general of Sanlakas Cebu, the group assisting the settlers, said they will create a tent for the settlers should they decide to camp at the City Hall.

The Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, has suggested for a “summary demolition” of the structures.

The affected settlers are set to hold a rally tomorrow, Wednesday, in front of the City Hall to air their concerns out. —/JMO (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BARANGAY PAKNAAN CITY CITY HALL FELIX SUICO HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICE HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER GIOVANNI TIANERO OF THE CITY LEGAL OFFICE MAHIGA CREEK MANDAUE MANDAUE CITY MANDAUE CITY RISK REDUCTION MANAGEMENT OFFICE
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