Fire victims: Give us time to transfer

AFTER their houses were hit by fire, more than 300 families in Barangay Maguikay, Mandaue City are asking the lot owners to give them ample time to find a place where they can transfer.

But the families are also raising to the property owners the possibility of acquiring their land.

City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna met with more than 80 residents and two of the three lot owners in Sitio Salvacion, Maguikay last Thursday after the latter said they no longer want the fire victims to rebuild their houses at the fire site.

At least 308 families in Sitio Salvacion, Maguikay and 275 in Sitio Santo Niño, Barangay Guizo were affected by a fire last Jan. 1

The 30 lot owners in Guizo, though, agreed that the affected families can rebuild their homes.

In Maguikay, an ejectment case was filed in court by a lot owner against 10 fire victims.

In an interview yesterday, Fortuna said the lot owner in Maguikay and the families previously had a compromise agreement, which allows the latter to stay in the area until April this year.

The lot owner will also provide P2,500 cash aid.

“Apparently, they remained in the property until the fire struck them,” he said.

According to the vice mayor, the lot owner will still provide financial assistance to the families.

Another property owner in the same sitio, a company, won an ejectment case against some 80 residents in 2006.

The families continued staying in the area despite an order from the court to leave.

“What is important for us now in the City Government is that they (lot owners and informal settlers) are talking. The fire victims (in the two lots), they recognized that they have to move out,” he said.

The vice mayor thinks that the families are not yet financially ready to leave but he said the City will assist them.

“If ever they come to an agreement that they will move out, the City will provide financial aid over and above the funds that they will receive from the disaster funds,” Fortuna said.

On the possibility for the City to acquire the lot, Fortuna said it is unlikely because the value of the property is too high.

He said the City’s price ceiling for lot acquisition is only P2,500 per square meter.

The properties in Maguikay, however, which are along the highway, have a zonal value of between P7,000 and P8,000 per square meter, he said.
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