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Rama, Labella stall demolition of houses

May B. Miasco/JMO (The Freeman) - October 19, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least 60 houses of informal settlers in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City were set to be demolished starting yesterday but Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Edgar Labella intervened and stopped the demolition temporarily.

Labella is set to speak with Municipal Trial Court Judge Jenelyn Forosuelo, the one who issued the demolition order, today.

Rama and Labella were only able to talk to the court sheriff who enforced the order yesterday.

“Mobalik ko adto sa judge… balikon nako og hangyoon nga hunong usa. Mosugot sila (families) mamahawa basta tagaan lang higayon nga masira ang klase,” Labella said.

Only 10 houses were demolished when the city officials arrived.

“Mao ra ni akong ingon nila please, hold lang sa ta karon,” Rama said.

He dropped by the area of demolition on his way to the airport to fly to Yokohama City in Japan for an official business.

Rama said he will also appeal to the property owner, lawyer Makilito Mahinay, whom he described as a “good friend,” to allow the families to stay until the relocation site for them is ready.

He said City Hall’s Department of Social Welfare and Services will assist the families affected and the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor will get the resettlement site ready.

Labella said a relocation area has been eyed in Barangay Quiot Pardo but it will take time to develop it.

The families have asked the court to suspend the demolition until March next year.

On October 12, Rama and Labella sent two separate letters to Forosuelo to appeal the order.

Three days later, Rama sent another written communication to the presiding judge. On the same day, the families affected filed a manifestation to postpone the demolition. The families admit, though, that they received a copy of the “final notice to vacate” informing them of yesterday’s schedule of demolition.

“...it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court, to grant us the request, an extension of the date set for the demolition until the end of the school year this March 2016 for humanitarian reason and consideration,” reads a portion of their pleading in court.

“We pray and appeal that we be granted the requested extension of time to better prepare and cushion the impact of displacement as well as to give time for the City Government to provide the needed relocation site without… we the defendants undertake to voluntarily vacate and remove our structures on the arrival of the specified time which will not be longer than March 2016,” it reads further.

Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan, for his part, said the barangay was not informed about the clearing operation.

“Actually, wala mi kalibutan, wala mi kahibawa kanus-a nadawat. Supposed to be naa man ni clearance sa barangay… Mas maayo gyud makahibawo ang syudad ug barangay para makaandam unta mi og assistance sa mga apektadong pamilya,” he said.

He said the families whose houses were demolished will be provided with tents as temporary shelter or will be accommodated at the barangay’s sports complex.  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC BARANGAY BARANGAY GUADALUPE BARANGAY QUIOT PARDO CEBU CITY CITY GOVERNMENT CITY HALL DEMOLITION DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND SERVICES RAMA RAMA AND LABELLA
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