Cagayan de Oro City to build 722 houses, 6 years after Sendong

THE Cagayan de Oro’s long-overdue housing units, donated by the Japan Government, will finally be realized with the ground-breaking ceremony set Tuesday, April 25, in Pahiron, Lumbia village.

City Mayor Oscar Moreno on Monday, April 24, said the project is now moving forward after a five-year-old delay, owing to what he called as an “uncooperative City Council.”

However, the much-awaited 722 housing units for “Sendong” survivors won't be given for “free” without any hassle.

City Housing and Urban Development Department consultant Engineer Ermin Pimentel said that the city will pay P26 million for the 7.6 hectares land owned by the Gador family in Lumbia village.

Each housing unit has a 27 square meter floor area and a lot area of 70 square meter.

Because of this, Pimentel said, the beneficiaries will have to pay more or less P21,000 to fully acquire the unit and be given its title.

u201cThe housing unit is totally free, but the lot acquisition, according to Mayor Oca’s formula, is we multiply the 70 square meter area to its buying price which is more or less P300 per square meter,” Pimentel explained.

u201cSo they’ll have to pay more or less P21,000. At first, we thought that if the price is expensive, we could enroll them to a community mortgage program or through a cash for work program. However, we think that P21,000 is cheap, imagine for example, we require them to pay P1,000 per year, I think the price is just right,” he added.

Pimentel, however, clarified that they’re also studying a scheme to give it for free without any counterpart from the beneficiaries, considering that they were Sendong survivors.

But Moreno said this would be hard since the lot was bought by the city, unlike previous Sendong housing projects, which were sponsored by the National Government or a private entity.

u201cUnlike before when the money was only downloaded to us, we did not spend for both the land and house, so we can give the titles for free. The question now is, will we do the same thing here in 722 housing units when the property is paid by the City Government? No, we cannot do that, because I will be accused of giving undue benefit that I cannot give to everyone, this will be anti-graft,” Moreno said.

Thus, Moreno has categorically cited a “long-term housing program plan,” which has clear rules and limitations as the only solution to the three housing dilemma the city is facing, namely, the Piso-Piso housing, Sendong housing, and third, all other relocation projects for illegal settlers.

u201cDo we want our housing programs for lease or lease to own? Give titles? So these are the combinations for us to formulate a policy for our housing program,” he said.

The city has remaining 3,000 Sendong survivors who are still not relocated, but with the 722 housing project, the figure can be lowered down to 2,000.

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