NINE of 40 families living in front of the Doña Pepang Cemetery in Barangay Tejero already moved out of the area yesterday to pave the way for the Cebu City Government’s conversion of the area into a heritage park.
Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) chief Atty. Collin Rosell said the nine families voluntarily demolished their structures and relocated to their identified relocation site in Barangay Lorega.
Members of the City’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement (Probe) helped the families in the removal and transfer of their structures yesterday.
The transfer of the families came after the notice to vacate issued to them by Probe lapsed last June 24. It also followed after the court junked the move of former mayor Tomas Osmeña to seek a temporary restraining order against the conversion of the cemetery into a public park.
Rosell said the nine families were the ones transferred first because they are the ones whose structures are located on the road in front of the cemetery.
With nine families already moved out, he said the remaining families will follow in the coming days.
Lorega Barangay Captain Fritzgerald Herrera, however, expressed disappointment yesterday over the transfer of the Doña Pepang families to his barangay, saying there are still 60 families affected by fire in March 2014 that are yet to be accommodated by DWUP in its socialized housing program.
“It’s not about Lorega not accepting these people. It’s about us not being informed. Our constituents also have their own concerns that need to be addressed, too,” he said.
Victor Piloton, one of the 60 fire victims, said they will oppose the transfer of the Doña Pepang families to Lorega.
Sought for comment, Rosell reminded the 60 families that the City’s socialized housing area in Lorega, specifically the re-blocked site, is for the structure owners who were affected by the 2014 fire.
The 60 families, he said, are only sharers and renters.
Rosell also said the 60 families signed an undertaking in 2014 which provides that their stay in the vacant lot at the re-blocked site is only temporary or until they will find another place or house to rent.
“If they (will oppose the transfer), they will only give us a reason to take action against them,” he added.
However, Rosell assured the 60 families that they will not be left out by the City, saying that they will be accommodated in the two medium-rise buildings that will soon be built in Lorega.
The two buildings, which can accommodate 86 families each or a total of 172 urban poor settlers, will be funded by the City’s P78-million Poverty Alleviation Fund of the National Housing Authority.
Rosell said the project will already be bid out soon.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2015.
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