Cebu News

Shrine settlers hope Osmeña changes mind

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Odessa O. Leyson - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Osmeña Shrine settlers who stand on the brink of losing their homes to demolition by the City Hall are hoping Mayor Tomas Osmeña will hear their pleas, literally and figuratively.

Yesterday, about a hundred of them took their concerns to the City Hall in a rally meant to change Osmeña’s mind.

“Dili unta ipadayon ang demolition ba kay wala gyud mi kapuy-an,” said Rodel Matayaw, a board member of the Association of People’s Initiative, a group of settlers at the shrine.

Matayaw said there are still more than 100 houses at the shrine that are yet to be dismantled by the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement team.

Last October 12, PROBE stalled a scheduled demolition of houses there when Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr. arrived in the area and protested, saying that the move was illegal.

Alcover said the city government no longer owns the property since it had been donated to a religious organization several years back.

Yesterday, Alcover, in a privilege speech, appealed to Osmeña to provide relocation site for the affected families if the mayor wants them evicted.

“It is along these lines that we appeal to the senses and feelings of city mayor Tomas Osmeña to humanely attend to the plight of the affected families in Barangay Kalunasan and seek out ways, as soon as possible, to provide relocation area for the affected families which are mandated by our laws,” he said.

The FREEMAN tried to get Osmeña’s comment yesterday but he was unavailable.

Earlier, he said letting the settlers stay in the area is like tolerating squatting.

Last Monday, the affected residents filed a complaint of grave abuse of authority and irregularities in the performance of official function before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against Osmeña and PROBE head Abel Diloy.

“Clearly, the acts of demolition constitutes a gross ciolation of RA 7279 which provides that no demolition shall be affected unless there is livable relocation site, meaning an area with electricity, water system and proper drainage as well as the gross violation of the Executive Order dated July 18, 2016 which provides that no relocation no demolition,” their complaint reads. (FREEMAN)

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