Obey or demolition; bakwits told to dismantle structures

GIMME SHELTER. What awaits the evacuees at the Capitol Park in Cagayan de Oro can be gleaned from the faces of a young boy and an old woman seated from afar staring blankly outside their temporary camp, following a commotion on Monday, June 17 when Capitol officials resist the dwellers' initiative to build new house structures amid the rainy season's threat of danger to health. (Lynde Salgados)

SOME 30 families of evacuees at the Provincial Capitol Park have only until today, June 18 to dismantle their new-built house structures or face “demolition.”

This, after a capitol official and leaders of the evacuees from Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental figured in an altercation over the illegal construction of makeshift structures at the capitol grounds on Monday, June 17.

Lawyer Neil Pacana, provincial legal officer, confronted and berated the "bakwit" leaders Datu Reynaldo Ayuma and Junreboy Hilogon, after they failed to follow the agreement made two weeks ago.

Pacana said the provincial government only allowed the bakwits to repair their makeshift houses but not to construct new structures.

"Simple ang sabot ang trapal ug katre ayuhon lang but they expanded their area and naghimo og structures. Hinangal naman na. We will demolish it,"Pacana said.

"That is not allowed tan-awa ang UN (United Nation) gatukod ba diay ingon ana? Tent man kay it can be easily removed. That is the humanitarian law on IDPs. kinsa man nag violage karon," Pacana rhetorically asked.

On Monday, June 17, the capitol gave the evacuees two hours to voluntarily remove the structures but to no avail.

"Tungod aning inyong malinglahon nga lihok, napugos kami paghatag kaninyo og duha ka oras para i-disassemble/pagtangtang sa inyong gipangtukod nga istruktura diha sa parke. Kung dili ninyo tangtangon sulod sa duha ka oras, kami na ang mapugos pagtangtang ana," Pacana then said in a letter to the "bakwit", just two hours before noon time.

But, Hilogon maintained that it is their initiative to build structures to replace their damaged shelters and as preparation also for the rainy season.

Hilogon said despite the objection from capitol officials, they would continue building the structures.

"Wala nasabutan unsa klase among tukoron ug among initiative kani nga ing-ani aron malimpyo ang among tulgnan mao among gitaas-taas gamay gikan sa ground,"Hilogon said.

"Duna silay katungod nga i-demolish pero duna pud mi katungod isip tao,"he added.

Hilogon said the bamboo, plywood and other materials were provided by a non-government organization called "Accord."

Pacana said the NGO could also be held accountable for failure to coordinate with the capitol officials.

The capitol's legal officer said the original offer was to relocate the evacuees in Lagonglong town and provide them with shelter, food and livelihood assistance.

However, the evacuees opposed because for them it will make no difference. They, however, wanted to return home as soon as the army soldiers leave their community in Sitio Camansi, Banglay, Lagonglong town.


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