Oro demolition team member killed

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


A DEMOLITION turned bloody in Barangay Puntod on Tuesday when a member of the demolition team was allegedly killed by one of the residents who refused to leave while a police was injured after a melee ensued.

Armed with the writ of demolition issued by Branch 20 of the Regional Trial Court, a demolition team dismantled the houses of the families residing in the area who were ordered to leave as soon as possible whether the lands where their houses stand are titled or not.

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Tension gripped as the demolition team began dismantling houses within the perimeters of Dacudao compound particularly the western part where residents blocked every passage by putting piles of sacks, scattering broken glass bottles, and setting on fire rubber materials.

Albert Acma, 26, a resident Kauswagan and a member of the demolition team, was shot dead when a bullet hit the upper portion of his right eye fired allegedly by a resident known only as “Estong” who escaped after the incident while PO1 Mardonio Malihaw of City Public Safety Company was shot in his left shank by allegedly another shooter.

Jonathan Bandianon, a colleague of Acma, said the police instructed them to tear down the sheet roofing used as barricade by the residents.
“The police ordered us to open the barricade. Albert, who was nearer to the post, immediately got shot at his right eye. People ran away and I heard shouting and screaming. When I looked at Albert, he was lying on the floor with blood oozing out from his head,” Bandianon said.

Unplanned demolition

Bandianon and Acma have been doing their job for almost three years now. And he blamed the police for the “unplanned” demolition.

“It was clear the police were at fault on this one. They sent us without conducting a clearing operation first. It was only minutes later they realized that everything was unplanned when they had to re-route because they could not penetrate the area anymore,” he said.

Superintendent Aaron Mandia, head of the City Public Safety Company, however, insisted there was a clearing operation before they removed the blockade.

“Previously, the barangay captain (Marvin Beja) has negotiated with the resistance force, but the latter insisted they should not be included from the operations. Prior to the incident, the sheriff talked with them for the last time, but still they insisted. We have already expected that they have arms but we did not expect that it was that abrupt,” Mandia said.

Residents who resisted with the demolition were convinced by some quarters to oppose it.

“We were convinced by ‘Estong’ and his group. They told us that we are to fight for our right for this land. But we later realized, the court has already given the verdict,” Ruel (not his real name) said.

Emmanuel Autida, Jovanni Autida, Francis Trodes and Julito Oliveros were arrested and brought to Macabalan Police Station for interrogation.

However, police said that Estong and his cohorts have remained at large.

Plea for relocation

While the dwellings inside compound were dismantled, some families pleaded to the government for an immediate relocation.

For Joefer Lumuntad, a worker at a nearby cockpit arena, moving out immediately is difficult because his family has been living in the area for almost 30 years already.

“My siblings and I have grown up here, my children also. Seeing our houses hammered to rubbles is painful because it took a lifetime for our parents to build those up. Aside from being attached to our house, where should we live now?” Lumuntad asked.

He has three children who are all studying at Puntod Elementary School. Moving for his family would also entail problems since his children have to transfer to a new school.

Marifer Anunciado who has 10 children is confused on what to do with the studies of her children who will likely move to new schools too.

“It has been three days since the demolition has started and my children have been absent already. I cannot cook for them and sleep comfortably at night,” Anunciado said.

There are 272 families affected excluding the informal settlers along Bitan-ag creek, which is still part of Dacudao compound.

Early advisory

There are three homeowners associations that have been established within Dacudao compound considering the expanse of the property.

Ike Saligumba, president of the Agora Landless Association, said there were three notices issued to them by the court since January—notice to vacate, writ of execution and writ of demolition.

Demolition was to start in May this year, but majority of the residents were uncooperative.

“Tony Dacudao offered us a land in Barangay Agusan where we could start anew. But, it has to be paid in 10 years, we sense already that we would be removed from this area, so we moved out immediately,” Saligumba said.

Twenty-two families availed of the offer while the rest stayed hoping for a relocation site for them.

They expected that a relocation site would be given to them. But they sensed the government would not [consider] it because relocation sites are given only to those who were and will be affected by calamities such as Sendong,” he added.

Politicking in the rubbles

Beja sympathized with the residents who no longer have a place to stay.

“These are 50 families, most of them are sharers, renters and homeowners and known as ‘followers’ of Mayor Moreno who were given priority for relocation in Calaanan together with the Sendong survivors. It was a clear political alignment lang gyud to. Whatever the city was planning, the barangay level was not informed,” he said.

“What about the rest of the residents here? Was there a single presence of a representative from the city who could answer these questions from the residents with regard to their relocation?” Beja added.

Beja wrote a letter to the Estate Management Division (EMD) inquiring on any prepared relocation site for the residents.

He said the EMD only provided him with a socio-economic profiling, but there was no follow-up after that.

“We called EMD a few times but there was no response from them. There was no instruction, and not even food assistance here [was given]. What are they doing?” he said.

He complained there was not even transportation assistance from city government.

Meanwhile, the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) assured Acma’s family of assistance.

The demolition that reached around 10 percent of progress has been temporarily halted by authorities due to the commotion that resulted to Acma’s death.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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