AUTHORITIES demolished the houses occupied by informal settlers in Zayas Landfill in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

The illegal structures in Sitio Zayas were built in a 27-hectare privately owned property. They have been occupied by around 10,000 informal settlers, most of them from outside Cagayan de Oro.

Mayor Oscar Moreno said that while there is a law that favors illegal occupants, people still cannot simply occupy a privately owned land without permission from the owner.

Moreno said one cannot close his or her eyes and allow the commission of an illegal act just because they sympathize with the plight of the informal settlers.

He added that this will encourage other informal settlers to occupy several vacant or privately or publicly owned lands.

"Gapangita og pamaagi ang gobyerno nga mapangitaan og solusyon, mapangitaan og mabalhinan ang mga informal settlers. Pero dili sad mahimo nga naay mga tao nga mo-occupy sa mga privately owned lands nga walay pagtugot sa tag-iya. That is illegal," Moreno said.

"Di man mahimo sad nga piyungan nimo ang commission of illegal act tungod kay malooy ka," he added.

Moreno added that having no land or property of their own is not a license for them to occupy privately owned land.

"Protection will be given. The government will find ways nga makatabang pero dili gyud gihapon lisensya nga mag occupy ka diha sa kon unsay imong makit-an tungod kay wala kay mapuy-an. Walay lisensya niana," Moreno said.

The mayor added that the informal settlers were encouraged to occupy the land by unscrupulous groups who should be exposed for their wrongdoing.

"Gadala sila og mga tao nga gikan sa gawas. Dapat ma-expose kana nga mga personahe gapabayad sila. We cannot allow them to exploit the kindness of the government," Moreno said.