Cebu News

On demolition: City Council OKs 1 year moratorium

May B. Miasco, FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – The Cebu City Council has approved a one year moratorium on demolition to give the city government time to look for relocation site for those informal settlers whose houses are due for demolition.

The ordinance sponsored by Councilor Alvin Dizon, chairman of the committee on housing, was passed last week.

“The moratorium is intended to give the city government time to identify, secure, acquire and prepare adequate relocation for the informal settler families. This is not to curtail the LGU’s power to demolish but rather, the temporary prohibition is intended to strengthen the capacity of the LGU,” said Dizon.

Dizon admitted that the challenge now is how to get Mayor Michael Rama to approve the ordinance.

“Still awaiting for ma-yor’s signature,” Dizon told The Freeman.

Dizon said that giving resettlement and consulting the illegal settlers before any demolition is implemented had been a problem of the city government.

According to Dizon, the city government had been implementing clearing operations this year affecting several urban poor families but no adequate consultations were made. There was also no relocation site given.

 “It invites the highest sense of indignation when the Cebu City government, morally and legally tasked to uphold the law, is the one committing acts to defeat the law it is duty-bound to observe,” he said.

Dizon recognized the “need to allow the city government to adequately prepare for a massive turnout of homeless individuals in event of evictions or demolitions.”

“We need to temper clearing public spaces with the imperative to respect the urban poor’s right to housing. The urban poor are our constituents who contribute significantly to the economy and dynamism of our city. They are not nuisance and eye sores,” Dizon said.

The areas covered in the moratorium are the danger zones such as estuaries, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, and shorelines; public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, public cemeteries and playgrounds; and in areas where government infrastructure projects will be put in place.

“Any eviction or demolition of the dwelling of urban poor or informal settlers in the aforementioned areas during the effectivity of the moratorium is hereby prohibited… The moratorium on eviction or demolition of dwelling shall be for one year from effecti-vity of this ordinance,” part of the ordinance read.

The ordinance compels the city government to complete the construction of four medium rise buildings in Barangay Lorega for socialized housing and purchase at least three lots to serve as resettlement sites during the moratorium period.

The city is further mandated to implement site development projects in all relocation sites which can still accommodate new beneficiaries.

The Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor with the assistance of the concerned barangays should conduct survey and tagging of all households and structures in their respective areas.

Under Section 4, the moratorium can be lifted if the city government has conducted thorough consultation with the informal settlers and if they have already identified and signed an agreement on the relocation sites of the affected families.

All clearing operations initiated by the city should secure a Certificate of Compliance from the Local Housing Board, which will make recommendation to the City Council for the lifting of the moratorium.

Despite the moratorium, however, the city government may still implement clearing operations provided that there is an urgent necessity to immediately relocate families to prevent loss of lives and property.

The moratorium, however, does not apply to demolitions covered with court order. — (FREEMAN)


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