AT least 30 structures owned by fire victims who had been staying within the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) compound were demolished by the Mandaue City Government.
City Legal Assistant Lawyer James Allan Sayson said these fire victims, who were living in a private lot when the fire happened, can already go back to the area because there is no court order that prohibits them from rebuilding their houses there.
The fire victims are expected to return to the area that is currently being developed by December, according to Sayson.
There were 2,222 families in Barangays Guizo and Mantuyong that were displaced by the fire last March 12.
The Cebu Provincial Government allowed the families to stay on the CICC grounds while development in the fire site, particularly on the lot donated by the City Government, was ongoing.
Tony Pet Juanico, head of the City Housing and Urban Development Office, said there were almost 100 families that were staying in a private lot.
Some of the families stayed in the CICC, but eventually returned to the private lot they used to occupy.
In an interview, Sayson said that last month, they sent the fire victims who were not beneficiaries of the site development project a notice to vacate. But they continued staying on the CICC grounds.
The demolition was scheduled last Sept. 5 but was moved to Sept. 15 as advised by the city mayor.
“There were people in the CICC who were previously occupying a private lot. TThey went to CICC when in fact they can return to the private lot. We do not have an ongoing re-blocking in the private lot because we cannot intervene. Our concern is there is limit to the property which the City of Mandaue previously owned and was donated actually to the beneficiaries,” Sayson said.
The City Government donated a 1.9 hectare lot to the beneficiaries of Mantuyong and Guizo, which was part of the area that was affected by fire.
The lot is part of the 9.2-hectare City-owned lots that were donated to its beneficiaries for an on-site socialized housing project of Mandaue.
Since the City could not accommodate all the families back to the lot where they had stayed, Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing said they will look for another lot outside the city.