Our subdivision – what happened to it!

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I LIVE in PN Roa Subdivision, this is part of Calaanan, a sitio of Barangay Canitoan. This subdivision was set up years ago by the late Pedro ‘Oloy’ N. Roa. Years ago, I was able to buy a lot here rather cheap and I enjoyed living here, far from the noise and foul air of the city. The subdivision, however, was never fully developed, no proper drainage system and no cemented roads. The subdivision has not been turned over to the local government and the heirs of Oloy Roa still claim ownership over the subdivision.

We have here a PN Roa Homeowners Association, which failed to demand the turnover of the subdivision. The Roa family may claim ownership of some individual properties but, of course, that does not mean that they still own the subdivision as a whole.

Next to our subdivision is a relocation area of squatters from the city and many people from the city who were hit by typhoon Sendong were relocated also in the same area. Initially these people lived in tents but later they were given permanent quadruplex houses by the city government. The property of the land was given by former Mayor Vicente Emano under the ‘piso-piso’ deal.

The people never got the title of the land. Together with our subdivision, it is a very large area with a very big population. It is all part of our parish in PN Roa, which is still a chaplaincy. The problem is that the chaplaincy has no title of the land where the church was built years ago because another area was originally donated to the church by Roa.

If the chaplaincy gets the title then it can become a parish. I think, it is time also to petition our government to split barangay Canitoan into two. Recently we got some very good priests from the congregation of the Barnabite Fathers and our parish is picking up slowly as a Christian community under their spiritual leadership.

Not long ago, PN Roa Real Estate decided to build a tall wall, with pieces of broken glass on top, between the subdivision and the relocation area. Actually, the decision was made on the request of some board members of the homeowners association who said that the people in the relocation area are potential robbers and they wanted to deny them access to our subdivision. They even forbade the people from the relocation area to play basket ball on our court and football near that court. Worst of all is that that wall is built over a cement road which denies the people right of way to both areas.

Our parish community is supposed to be one community but that wall has split the community in two. The majority of the people in that area are poor and victims of typhoon Sendong and the majority in our subdivision are well-to-do people.

What a shame to us Christians! Pope Francis calls the Church to be a church of the poor. If our homeowners association is not willing to be open for dialogue on this issue I intend to incite the people to demolish by force that portion of the wall that is blocking the road.

I really feel angry every time I pass by that wall and I feel sorry for those people who have to walk a big detour in going to the church on Sundays. This is a holy indignation, which Jesus of Nazareth so often felt with respect to the hardheaded people of the Scribes and Pharisees in his time. Am I asking too much?

*****

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 13, 2014.

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