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‘Lama-an’ removed

/ 07:11 AM August 03, 2013

At least 50 fish drier stands in barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City were dismantled by personnel of the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (Probe) yesterday morning.

Raquel Arce, head of Probe, said no less than Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama complained that the drier stands locally known as ‘lama-an’ have become an eyesore.

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“He noticed it every time we passed by SRP. He said it is not nice to look at. It destroys the view,” said Arce in Cebuano.

Acting on Rama’s order to do something about the problem as part of the city’s coastal area beautification program, a team from Probe conducted an ocular inspection last July 15.

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In a July 19 report, the Probe recommended the demolition of the structures.

Arce said aside from being an “eyesore”, the structures were condisidered illegal since it lacked permits and were constructed outside the seawall.

“Structures are not supposed to be allowed outside the seawall but rather, behind it. The city spent so much for that seawall and yet they do not follow the orders?” Arce said.

On July 24, a seven-day notice was sent to the owners of the fish drier stands asking them to voluntarily dismantle the structures.

Arce said the owners which included Gilberto and Junie Betenol, Meo and Ernie Añavesa, Meon Cenita, Cefina Araña and Premetivo “Boy” Pojas didn’t heed the order prompting the Probe to conduct clearing operations.

Arce said the owners may claim the dismantled bamboo and wood from the Probe office and pay a storage fee, depending on the assessment of the City Treasurer’s Office.

“Since we were the ones who demolished the structures, we will be the ones to keep them. If only they did the demolition themselves, they could have kept them. That is in the law” said Arce.

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There were a few owners, however, who came yesterday to help out in the clearing operations so that they could save their structures from confiscation.

Ernie Añavesa, one of the owners who showed up said they did not immediately act on the clearing notice because they were hoping that the city would give them an extension.

“Mao ra man gud ni among panginabuhian, mga napulo ka tuig na mi diri (This is our only source of income. We have been here for about 10 years already),” said Añavesa, teary-eyed.

He explained that they constructed their fish driers outside the seawall since the space allotted to them was already full.

“Naa naman gud na’y mga tag-iya, (It already has owners),” Añavesa added.

Arce did not accept Añavesa’s excuse.

“They can negotiate among themselves and take turns in using the space. See, there are even fish driers that are not currently used,” said Arce.

Duljo-Fatima barangay captain Elmer Abella, on the other hand, asked the city to hasten their plans of extending the seawall and reclaim the coastal area behind it so that they would have a bigger space for their fish-drying business.

“I hope they will start it immediately because I feel for the people here. This is their only livelihood. It has been a long time plan but until now it has not yet been implemented,” said Abella.

Arce confirmed that there is such project but said that she heard reports that the reason why it was delayed was because the vehicles to be used to fill the shores have a hard time passing through the barangay.

During the clearing operations, the Probe also noticed the piling up of garbage in the fish-drying area behind the seawall.

She described it as very unsanitary.

“After this, I’m not sure if I would still want to eat dried fish,” said Arce.

Abella said illegal dumping of garbage has long been a problem in their barangay.

“Our garbage collection is held everyday but there are just hardheaded people who still throw their garbage in the sea” said Abella.

He said their only solution is to conduct regular coastal cleanups and to constantly educate their constituents on the ill-effects of improper waste disposal.

“They will still be the ones to suffer. First of all, that is very dangerous to the health as it can cause diseases,” Abella explained.

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