Council halts CitiCenter demolition

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

SUSPENSION. Demolition at CitiCenter in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City may be suspended for 20 days if Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will not prevent the implementation of the order approved by the city council. (Sun.Star Foto/USJ-R Mass Comm Intern Samie Gonzaga)


THE Cebu City Council yesterday ordered a 20-day suspension of the demolition at the CitiCenter Complex in Barangay Kamagayan.

But Mayor Michael Rama is not inclined to heed the resolution of the council sponsored by Councilor Sisinio Andales.

“That (resolution) is just a request; it can be granted or not. As early as 2010, there was already a plan to bring in a new dimension in Kamagayan,” Rama said in his regular press conference yesterday.

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Rama then presented his administration’s plan for the CitiCenter.

It was Atty. Benjamin Militar, representing the 200 families living in the complex, who wrote a letter to Rama asking for the suspension.

Militar appeared before the council yesterday to make the same plea.

Councilor Alvin Dizon noted that the demolition might have some violations from City Ordinance (CO) 2356, which was passed in July 30, 2013, which he authored.

For one, there should be a consultation between the City and the informal settlers before the demolition.

Militar said there was a so-called consultation but the informal settlers were represented by people not elected by the majority of the affected residents.

“This representation manifests that there is a practice of bypassing the city council and we must not allow this to continue,” said Dizon.

“I move for the suspension of the demolition at the CitiCenter Complex for at least 20 days to allow Racquel Arce to explain whether she complied with CO 2356,” Andales said in a resolution approved by the council.

The ordinance set a six-month moratorium on the demolition of the structures at the CitiCenter. But the ordinance was passed in January 2013 yet.

Notices

Arce, the chief of the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement (Probe), sent several notices to the CitiCenter residents for the demolition.

“What is the extent of the power of the Probe chief? What ordinance defines the chief’s power?” Militar asked considering that the notice of demolition was signed by Arce and not Rama.

Rama bared his plan for the CitiCenter, which consists of four phases.

Phase one will be the demolition of the illegal structures, erect the building for socialized housing among City Hall employees, and pave the road.

But Militar said there should be no demolition until the City already has the budget for the infrastructure.

Rama said the City will start with a pay parking in the complex to be managed by the Kamagayan local government.

The new Kamagayan Barangay Hall will stand at the CitiCenter Complex as the current one will be demolished to have the area used as an access road from Don Pedro Cui and RR Landon to Sanciangko St.

Phases two to four will be construction of the three other buildings for the socialized housing with commercial strips.

The council will hold an executive session on the demolition on Sept. 1 where Arce will be made to explain the circumstances surrounding the clearing.

The council also wants to know the condition of some of the families who have already lost their homes from the ongoing demolition, which started last week.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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