‘Humane demolition’ in LuzBy Ador Vincent Mayol, Tweeny M. Malinao
Cebu Daily News
Four of 32 families dismantled their homes ahead of the court-ordered demolition in three sitios of barangay Luz, Cebu City tomorrow.
Bebe Barilliano, secretary of the Barangay Luz Urban Poor Fraternal Organization (BLUPFO) confirmed this, saying the court ordered last Sept. 28 to have the households voluntarily dismantle their houses within Oct. 5 to 8.
“Even if it’s painful in our part to dismantle our own homes, but the court’s order is final and executory, so we accepted it,” said Barilliano who spoke in behalf of Lucina Fabular, vice-president of BLUPFO.
Earlier, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Ramon Daomilas of Branch 11 said the demolition of homes should be done gradually “in pursuit of compassionate human justice.” “We have to start,” Daomilas said.
Barilliano said they’re asking the court to give them 15 days to find a temporary shelter while DWUP hastened to find a suitable relocation site.
“It’s accepted that they already won…why the rush? We will leave peacefully, Barilliano said.
The homeowners’ associations which own the lot occupied by the settlers is willing to provide P10,000 for each household that voluntarily leave the area.
The Philippine National Police already committed to assist during the demolition.
Relocation areas in different locations in Cebu City have been readied by the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP). Judge Daomilas earlier voiced hopes for the demolition to be peaceful.
Daomilas said he just have to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) which released a final ruling on the case.
“To reopen it is impossible. The SC and Court of Appeals made their decision…the die is cast,” he said.
He called on the media and other agencies to monitor the demolition to see to it that necessary procedures are complied with.
DWUP chief Collin Rosell asked the court to postpone the demolition for one month but was turned down.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama earlier sought to purchase the lot where the settlers occupied.
However, the Cebu City Council didn’t allow the expropriation of the lot in favor of the affected residents.
Diosdada Martinez, president of the Mabuhay Homeowners ‘ Association, earlier said the lot purchase will start a bad predecent.
She said they offered the 32 families a chance to acquire the lots under the Community Mortgage Program.
But these families either refused to avail of the program or failed to pay the socialized cost for their lands.
The 32 affected families in sitios Nangka, Lubi and Mabuhay in barangay Luz face eviction after they lost in the court case.
Generosa Corbita, 69 and a resident of sitio Lubi in barangay Luz, is among those that will be affected by the demolition.
“It’s been our hope to acquire the lot in barangay Luz where we live for a long time already),” a teary-eyed Corbeta said.
The settlers, represented by 18 persons, filed a civil suit in court for “partial annulment of contracts and certificates of title with injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction.”
Named defendants in the case were the Capitol, Cebu City Hall, the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. and three homeowners associations.
The settlers claimed to be bona fide occupants of the province-owned lot in barangay Luz, Cebu City.
They said they were placed or relocated to barangay Luz by the government in 1957.
The settlers said they were unaware about an arrangement entered into by the Cebu City government and the Capitol on a community mortgage program.
The plaintiffs said they didn’t join the program because the conditions were onerous.
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled with finality upholding the demolition order.
The other homeowners associations said even if the 32 households leave, they are saddled with the problem of paying for the penalties of the lots that weren’t paid for nearly 20 years now which reached almost P6 million.
Barilliano said a court sheriff of RTC branch 11 came last Friday past 5 p.m together with 40 to 60 police including members of the demolition team to barangay Luz.
But Barilliano clarified that they weren’t harassed.
The settlers had just come last Friday in support of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who promised to help them.
Barangay Luz councilor Lito Lepatan explained to Barilliano that the police were just having a “dry run” to secure the houses scheduled for demolition.
The 32 households will have a prayer activity today initiated by the Cebu Solidarity with the Urban Poor Group.