CAGAYAN de Oro City Administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. urged the provincial administration of Misamis Oriental to own up to its "failure of governance" and not use the Office of the Building Official (OBO) as an excuse on why they drove the evacuees away.
Sabuga-a denied an information from an article published on the Capitol's daily newsletter stating that the OBO supposedly issued a notice to dismantle the evacuees' temporary shelter.
Sabuga-a said the OBO never issued any orders to demolish the temporary structures built by evacuees at the Capitol grounds.
Cagayan de Oro is a chartered city, not under the jurisdiction of Misamis Oriental province, but there was the reported interference of the city's OBO since the provincial Capitol is situated within the heart of the city.
"Gituo nako sa sulti ni Fr. [Rolando] Abejo nga nagkaubos ang kalidad sa pangutok sa mga namunuan sa probinsya tungod aning panghugas ni [Governor Yevgeny] Bambi [Emano] nga iyang gipasangil sa OBO," he said.
"Imagine nagguol si Bambi sa nahitabo sa bakwit kay tungod kuno sa order sa OBO busa ilang gidemolish? Si Bambi walay bayad because he did that, face the problem sa mga evacuees," he said.
Sabuga-a also served the Provincial Government as chief of the provincial disaster risk reduction management council under the leadership of former governor Oscar Moreno, who is about to serve as city mayor for the third term.
He said the demolition was ordered by the barangay, not OBO.
What transpired at the Capitol was "clearly a failure of governance," he added.
"Kung ang mga tawo gi-question ang (if the evacuees questioned the) presence sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), it's the local government that failed. Remember that the local government represents the National Government. The power is delegated to the local government to bring the government closer to the people," he added.
No one to blame
Meanwhile, Provincial Legal Officer Neil Pacana said they are not putting the blame on anyone.
He said the Capitol does not have power to order the dismantling of structures, adding that OBO is the only office who can impose it through a city ordinance.
The Capitol also has no provincial OBO that could issue an order, he added.
"The capitol is in the heart of the city, so under sa (it is under the jurisdiction of the) city ang (covering) any illegal structure. The order was issued by virtue of that city ordinance. We actually asked for assistance, because it is the only agency who has the authority," he said.
Pacana said the Capitol never abandoned the evacuees and has always been providing any assistance they needed.
He said the Capitol welcomed the evacuees for over a year.
"The governor accepted them since these people are from Misamis Oriental. What we don't understand is when we were supposed to go for the fact-finding mission in their area, they were always delaying it," he said.
Pacana also said that Capitol premises, including the Vicente de Lara Park, will be guarded with police officers to ensure that evacuees from Lagonglong town can no longer return to erect illegal structures.
He also said the deployment of policemen will remain as deemed needed.
"Kung mosulod sila diha (if evacuees will attempt to enter), we will have strong resistance to it," he added.
The evacuees have threatened to return to the Capitol grounds to rebuild makeshift shelters when they left the place on Tuesday, June 18.
Pacana said the evacuees could be accused of forcible entry should they come back and insist to set up camp at the park.
He also clarified that once there are residents from any other areas in Misamis Oriental who will be displayed by calamities or armed conflict, they will only be allowed to stay at the capitol premises for at least three days and they will be relocated to another place.
He said the internally displaced persons will be referred first to the town's local government unit.
The Capitol's legal officer also welcomed any legal move of the evacuees or their support groups.
Pacana said even the Provincial Government has plans to take legal measures against the evacuees and the groups that supported them.
But he said the Capitol's priority in the meantime is still to help the evacuees return to their community.