BENEFICIARIES of the Piso-piso resettlement program in Cagayan de Oro can gain ownership of their homes but they may have to shell out money to finally acquire their land titles.

City Mayor Oscar Moreno said the Piso-piso beneficiaries can exchange the Certificates of Occupancy for CLTs after buying them from the city government at an “affordable price.”

Delivering his Annual Report for 2015 on Monday, Moreno said the city government has started the processing of land titles in three Piso-piso designated areas, Isla Cupa, Centennial Village in Barangay Mambuaya, and KAHOA.

There are 29 Piso-piso areas in the city.

Moreno said City Hall’s Estate Management Division (EMD) has started conducting pre-occupancy and occupancy seminars to explain to the beneficiaries why they will have to pay for the houses they are occupying.

Moreno said the process is under way even as amendments to the ordinance covering the Piso-piso program are still pending at the city council.

The proposed amendments were drafted by the author of the Piso-piso program, former City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas.

Moreno said the city is implementing the measures to correct the previous administration’s Piso-piso program, an on-site resettlement project where lots were sold for one peso.

In place of CLTs, however, the beneficiaries were given only Certificates of Occupancy with the name of the political party of former Mayor Vicente Y. Emano, Padayon Pilipino.

“It sounds good but that cannot be implemented,” Moreno said.

He said the certificates of occupancy only assign the beneficiaries as stewards of the houses they occupy and they do not have absolute rights over them, such as the right to sell the property.

“They were allowed to occupy the houses but they were also bound by the bonds of political patronage,” Moreno said.

“The strategy should be to cut that rope, to set them free, and let them own the land that they now live in,” he said.

But Moreno said crafting a responsive resettlement program continues to be a major challenge for the city government.

To address this challenge, Moreno said he has assigned the Shelter and Housing Development Multisectoral Task Force, composed of various government agencies in the housing sector and the city government, to identify priority groups for the city’s resettlement program.

The groups include: Sendong survivors who have not been relocated; informal settlers affected by demolitions; residents living in danger or no-build zones; fire victims; and families displaced by government infrastructure projects.

City Councilor Bong Lao said the city government has resettlement programs in barangays Canitoan, Indahag, Pagatpat and Balubal. Lao added there are lots that are also in the process of being acquired for the relocation program.

 “But we are still lacking in terms of the construction of the individual housing units,” he said. “We cannot just give lots without houses.” Lynyrd Aleksei N. Corrales