Was there a Manunggal climb?

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


THE story is worrisome: Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said there are 51 cases for demolition of informal settlers’ structures under the jurisdiction of the Cebu City Government. That means thousands of families will be rendered homeless in the coming days if we go by the zeal with which court sheriffs are recently implementing demolition orders.

I am glad, though that the Cebu City Government is taking cognizance of this. It can either help in the court battle or it can provide the displaced families with relocation sites.

But every time I hear about these eviction notices, I remember our old house which is sitting on a lot whose ownership has been claimed by the Ralloses. The residents have been told to vacate the lot by one of the claimants (there are two of them) but it wasn’t a court order so it wasn’t followed.

I wrote about the issue in this column a few years ago. Soon, I got a call from a lawyer who obviously misunderstood the drift in my story. He probably thought I was the one trying to claim ownership to the lot.

The lawyer offered his help, telling me that he has an old map of the lots near B. Rodriguez Ext. near where our old house was located. He was looking for the listed old owners of the lots before these were donated to the Department of Health. He said he can help these owners “recover” the lots.

So there are lawyers who are in the business of litigating the “recovery” of lots, urging the supposed “owners” of these properties to go to court, with the said lawyers’ help, of course. If government is not keen on protecting its hold on the said properties, the lawyers and the supposed “owners” would succeed in their scheme, with the lawyers getting a big chunk of the loot.

If this is not illegal, then it complicates the problems of informal settlers.

***

The commemoration of the 57th anniversary of the death of former president Ramon Magsaysay seemed to pass unnoticed, especially by those who made it their ritual to climb Mt. Manunggal where the president’s plane Mt. Pinatubo crashed. Obviously, I didn’t make it to Manunggal the past weekend.

By “unnoticed” I mean by the rest of Cebu because I am sure that Balamban Mayor Ace Stefan Binghay concocted activities that just wasn’t relayed to the media. Besides, today, March 17, is the annual fiesta of Barangay Magsaysay where Mt. Manunggal belongs.

Part of the blame for the lack of promotion of the Manunggal activities can be politics. The activities were once the turf of former Balamban councilor Dave Binghay Karamihan who, in May 2012, ran for vice mayor against Ace’s mother Rosie. Karamihan narrowly lost in the elections.

Karamihan’s insistence on running against Rosie didn’t sit well with her husband, third district Provincial Board Member Alex Binghay. I don’t know where Dave is now.

He is probably enjoying his “forced” hibernation from the town’s political scene.

Anyway, some of my companions in past Manunggal climbs did go to the crash site for a campout early Saturday morning. Again, I didn’t go there for two reasons: one, I had to accompany my son to an important school activity and, two, I didn’t know what kind of activities were prepared by Balamban municipal officials.

Prior to this, I was determined to go back to Manunggal after a break of two years. I was also planning to make our climb more organized again. But that didn’t happen.

There is 2015, though, and I hope Balamban officials will finally find time to promote the annual climb, previously called “Paghandum ni Magsaysay.”

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2014.

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