A CAGAYAN de Oro City official justified the demolition of the houses of some 150 families in Barangay 31 saying some of them had already been offered lots by the City Government but chose to stay illegally.
City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) officer-in-charge Teddy Sabuga-a said that over 150 families were affected during the demolition on Wednesday, August 30, but clarified that the sheriffs were only supposed to demolish 4 houses in the area.
Sabuga-a said some of the families have also received compensation from the lot owner.
"Four nalang ka balay ang nahibilin, ang uban diha naa ra gihapon namuyo bisan tuod nisugot na sila na mohawa ug nakadawat na ug just compensation from the owner of the lot, the Oro Bayanihan," Sabuga-a said.
He said these families, mostly Maranaos, have been offered a relocation site in barangay Balubal.
Aside from the relocation site, the families were also given P25,000 each by the Oro Bayanihan as a result of the negotiations between the owner and the city.
The four others have been offered lots in Barangay Calaanan.
"Sauna raman ni nato gioffer, ug kung ila pa ning naatiman, nakatukod na unta sila ug balay sa atong identified sites. Ang uban nahatagan naman na sila ug just compensation, so wala na gyud unta silay apil diha, mangita na unta sila ug kaugalingon nila ug plastar," he said.
Sabuga-a also acknowledged that there are about 50 internally displaced families from Marawi whose houses were included in the demolition, but he said the evacuees can go anytime to the evacuation center in Barangay Indahag.
He said the lone evacuation center of the city is well taken care of by city officials and that relief goods are distributed in the area are nonstop.
"Ang attitude unta sa atong mga igsoon, kung dili ilang yuta, unya naa nay court order, dawaton ta nalang, bahalag sakit kay dili man gyud na ma-ato. We have to have a sense of acceptability, kay mao lang gihapon kung nag-squat mo diha, there will always be that worry, unya walay security, kay lage dili man ato. So better transfer to a house where you can call your own," Sabuga-a added.
The demolition of the houses is scheduled last year, but was moved several times after the city council, upon requests of the residents, asks the court to postpone. The latest request, was made by the city council last August 21, but Sabuga-a said the court denied the petition.
"Basin gamiton na gyud nila, unya dugay na sad kaayo ta ug hangyo since 2016 pa, basin gamiton na gyud nila, so wala na kitay mahimo," he said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 01, 2017.