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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Families at risk in housing site

EIGHT houses in a relocation site in the mountain barangay of Budlaan, Cebu City are in danger of collapsing after heavy rains and the current of the river below caused the soil to erode.

Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella visited the site owned by the National Housing Authority (NHA) in Sitio Lower Tac-an yesterday noon and saw the eight houses already standing on a cliff.

Some 15 families are at risk, since there are two to three families occupying a house in the socialized housing site.

“This is more of an emergency situation, we cannot be reactive. Let us be proactive. We shouldn’t wait for those houses to collapse before we do something. Time is of the essence,” he said.

The NHA relocation site is home to at least 62 houses and some 150 families who previously lived in Sitios Upper and Lower Carreta in Barangay Carreta.

Labella inspected the area after receiving a letter from Budlaan Barangay Captain Nerissa Antolihao, who expressed concern on the situation of the families there.

She said the continuous erosion of the soil poses a serious risk to the residents and their properties.

One of the residents, Joel Espinosa, said they can’t sleep whenever it’s raining for fear that the foundation of their house will further erode.

Di gyud mi katug, sige mig tugaw kay ug simbako ug malus-ag na hinuon ba. Sige na man mig hangyo sa NHA nga butangan ug riprap diri pero wa pa man gihapon (We cannot sleep. We stay awake at night because we don’t know when it will cave in. We’ve been asking NHA to construct a riprap but there’s no action),” he said.

Another resident, Novelyn Planyllo, said her 10-month-old son, Angelo, fell off the cliff last month while he was playing at the back of their house.

She said they were just fortunate that the baby remained in her walker when he fell. The baby, though, suffered a cut on his eyebrow, which required several stitches at the Cebu City Medical Center.

Boy Gimena, whose wife is the president of their homeowners association, said that when they moved to the site three years ago, the eight houses still stood two to three meters away from the river.

“But now, there’s no soil left at the riverbank. We have long been alarmed about this and we already sought the help of our village chief,” he said in Bisaya.

The residents fear that if officials do not act on their complaint, the cliff where the houses stand will cave in.

They appealed to City Hall to build a riprap to protect their properties.

Antolihao said he already reported the concern to the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office but they did not get any feedback.

Labella said yesterday that he will ask the disaster body to visit the relocation site and assess if there is a need to evacuate the residents who are at risk.

He will also ask a councilor to file a resolution asking the Department of Engineering and Public Works to prepare a program of works and estimates for the riprap.

Labella will also ask the City Council’s committee on budget and finance to check where the funds for the riprap can be charged.
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