Lot feud awaits UP-Cebu-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Families living on a property of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Barangay Lahug are opposing the school administration’s plan to evict them to make way for a new high school building.
The families questioned UP’s move, saying the school doesn’t even own the subject property because its true owner is the Cebu Provincial Compound.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu Sunday, the president of the Lahug Central Homeowners’ Association (Lachoa), lawyer Dominador Café, said they will not allow the UP management to push through with their plan.
The UP compound in Lahug reportedly covers more than 18 hectares but some of the lots are occupied by informal settlers.
Cafe said the property where they currently live and the Cebu Junior College then was donated by the Province to UP on March 11, 1963.
Based on the copy of the deed of donation they obtained, Cafe said that the land is supposed to revert to the Province once UP decided to close the Cebu Junior College.
Considering that the Cebu Junior College no longer exists, Cafe said this means it is the Province that is the rightful owner of the lot.
“The condition is clear. Asa na man na ron ang junior college? Wala na. Kung mo-ingon sila nga mao na ang UP High School, di man na sakto kay high school man na, college man tong gi-donate offering college courses. So gi-close gyud nila ang college. (Where is the junior college now? They can’t say it’s been replaced by UP High School. So, the college was, in fact, closed.) Because of that, the donation is no longer in effect,” he said.
In a separate interview, one of the residents, who requested not to be named, said they are against the plan to evict them, because their family has been living in the area for more than 90 years already.
“Sakit kaayo huna-hunaon nga ing-anion mi nila nga dugay na kaayo mi diri (That they should do this to us, after we have lived here for so long, hurts a lot),” she said.
She asked the UP management to spare them and construct its new high school building instead in the property it has been given in the South Road Properties (SRP).
“Nganung daginuton pa man mi nila diri? (Why should they go after us?),” she added.
UP owns a five-hectare lot at the 300-hectare SRP after it was donated by then mayor Tomas Osmeña in March 2009. UP has already used the property to construct a graduate facility, the UP Professional School Cebu.
Another resident, who also requested not to be named, warned UP management against insisting on their plans, saying that they are willing to do anything to protect their homes.
Even if the affected families will be given relocation sites, she said they will still not transfer because their livelihood is in the area.
City Administrator Atty. Jose Marie Poblete said the City is ready to help and provide relocation sites to the affected families.
“It has always been a matter of policy by the mayor to help our constituents,” he said.
However, Poblete said the beneficiaries should be underprivileged, to qualify for the City Government’s socialized housing program.
He added that it would also be up to the families if they want to avail themselves of socialized housing.
Asked what their plans are, Cafe said their organization and the other homeowners’ associations in the area want to seek an audience with Gov. Hilario Davide III and ask him to void the Province’s donation of the property to UP.
He added that they want the Province to sell the lots to them.
Last month, UP had installed two billboards in the school, informing unauthorized occupants of the UP property regarding their plan.
“This is to reiterate in writing once more that you are occupying UP property without permission from UP administration. You can be ejected anytime after the requisite legal and due process will be complied by the university. This means you may be asked to vacate anytime by the university,” the notice reads.
The notice also tells the occupants to desist from introducing further improvements in their houses, stores, shops and other infrastructure.
“Forceful actions against those who built and/or will build new structures, expand houses, put up new businesses and whatever endeavor that will stall our efforts toward our development goals and plan are now being done. Please prepare to relocate to other areas outside UP lots,” it added.
UP’s plan to construct a new high school building, particularly in the area in front of the Lahug Barangay Hall, is in line with the UP Centennial. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2013.