Urban poor leader turned councilor says suit recycledBy Tweeny M. Malinao
Cebu Daily News
Urban poor leader-turned city councilor Nida Cabrera said she and other similarly situated residents of barangay Luz should not be faulted for their success.
Cabrera dismissed as “politically motivated” the complaint filed against her by a group of urban poor settlers before the Office of the Ombudsman.
She said the complaint filed by the Barangay Luz Urban Poor Fraternal Organization (BLUPFO) for allegedly violating laws against professional squatting and squatting syndicates is also recycled.
The urban poor group started filing case in 1996, with the same allegations in the present case, said Cabrera.
Also impleaded in the complaint sent to the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and copy furnished to Visayas Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama last Sept. 6 is Diosdada Martinez, president of the sitio Mabuhay Homeowners’ Association in barangay Luz.
The councilor said she and other barangay Luz settlers who did overcome their poverty should not be faulted for their success.
“When the project started here, the people were really poor. But many became successful because they worked hard,” said Cabrera who is also the president of the sitio Nangka Homeowners Association.
BLUPFO alleged that many present occupants of barangay Luz, including Cabrera and Martinez settled in the place through “landgrabbing” in the guise of availing of the government’s Community Mortgage Program in 1995.
BLUPFO in a press release signed by its president Generosa Corbeta said the original settlers of barangay Luz were beneficiaries of the relocation program of President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.
Cabrera however said that their settlement is all legal and that they have been faithful in satisfying all the requirements of the CMP. She said they have even been diligent in paying their amortization to the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation in Manila.
Some CMP beneficiaries have already finished their amortization while those who availed of the 25-year amortization plan are on their 20th year already.
“The CMP loan was approved in 1995. I can prove that there has been no change in list,” said Cabrera.
BLUPFO has 35 members from sitios Mabuhay, Nangka and Lubi.
The sitio Nangka Homeowners’ Association has six members; 10 members in sitio Mabuhay Homeowners’ Association; and 15 members of sitio Lubi Homeowners’ Association.
Cabrera said when they were the first who processed the CMP, the other residents didn’t avail of the government program because they said “it means demolition” to them.
BLUPFO members facing a court-ordered demolition are claiming that as original settlers of the community—whose stay in the area even preceded the CMP program—their right to the land should be respected.
Corbeta said they could be demolished anytime after Sept. 5, after the court order takes effect. The demolition was initially set last May 15, but a widespread fire that hit the neighborhood last May 11 delayed the implementation of the order.