1-year moratorium on demolitions: Dizon pleads for Labella to support his ordinance
May B. Miasco/RHM (The Freeman) - February 1, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon has pleaded for acting mayor Edgardo Labella to sign an ordinance that sought to impose a one-year moratorium on city-ordered demolitions, five months after Mayor Michael Rama, who is currently serving a preventive suspension, snubbed it.

Dizon refiled the measure, which the City Council has approved, last December following the urban poor’s plea for proper relocation and consultation in view of the series of clearing operations conducted by the city government.

“I am humbly and respectfully requesting you (Labella) to keep an open mind and heart with the purpose of this legislative measure. Let us remember that when the city demolishes a house without due regard of the law, we do not just bring down a structure, we ultimately destroy a home, the family and the individual lives of the people in it,” he said.

The city councilor, who heads the council’s Committee on Housing, made the appeal in a January 27 letter to Labella.

Labella, though, remains undecided, telling a press conference yesterday that he was still in the process of weighing things out.

“It is not enough that the intention is noble…we (also) have to see to it that it (ordinance) will not be in conflict with existing national statutes,” the acting mayor said.

In particular, he was referring to Republic Act 7279 (Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992), which established a mechanism for the implementation of a comprehensive urban development and housing program.

Dizon, though, said the same law provides requirements that the city should comply with before implementing any demolitions.

Among other requirements, he cited the issuance of a notice not less than 30 days prior to the implementation of the demolition; adequate consultations on the matter of settlement; and adequate relocation.

Dizon said the ordinance, which City Councilor Nendell Hanz Abella co-authored, does not also allow persons to occupy and build structures in danger and public areas.

He said it “does not tolerate professional squatters and illegal squatting;” rather, “it seeks to give the city government time to plan and prepare for the eventual demolitions” in compliance with the mandate of RA 7279.

The ordinance, he said, does not curtail the city government’s police power in conducting demolitions since the measure also sets exemptions, like when there is an urgent necessity to relocate families to prevent loss of lives and properties.

 “Section 3 of the [ordinance] clearly provides that the moratorium only applies to existing structures and another safeguard is the conduct of survey and household tagging to identify qualified beneficiaries, who shall be prioritized for relocation,” Dizon said.

Having a clear registry of qualified beneficiaries was added to the ordinance after City Councilor Gerardo Carillo questioned its absence in the first draft of the measure before the City Council passed the ordinance last January 20.  (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC CEBU CITY COUNCILOR ALVIN DIZON CITY CITY COUNCIL CITY COUNCILOR GERARDO CARILLO CITY COUNCILOR NENDELL HANZ ABELLA DIZON EDGARDO LABELLA MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA ORDINANCE REPUBLIC ACT
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