SOME residents of Casals Village in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, have asked the Cebu City Government to investigate the alleged illegal construction of structures blocking “public roads” inside the village.
In a press conference Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, the residents also complained that the Casals Village Homeowners Association (CVHA) has been collecting tolls of up to P1,000 per entry from vehicles even though the roads are owned by the government.
According to the Sy Family, who has been living in the village since 1986, they want to know if the Cebu City Government is aware about the reported illegal activities in the village.
They said other residents have also complained about the matter and have filed civil and criminal cases before the courts.
The family presented documents showing that all 17 roads inside the village with a total land area of 1.7 hectares had been donated to the City Government in 1980.
Eduardo Sy, patriarch of the family, received a verification report from the City’s Department of General Services in December 2020, confirming that all roads in the village are owned by the Cebu City Government based on the Deed of Donation.
Sy said the road lots were donated by the original developer of the village.
Since the roads are considered owned by the government, City Hall has been spending public funds to asphalt them and maintain the drainage network and street lighting in the village.
However, the CVHA has been collecting payments from non-residents who want to access the public roads, Sy said.
Based on the schedule of fees presented by the Sy Family, the CVHA is charging P50 for six-wheeler vehicles, P600 for 10-wheelers and P1,000 for cement mixers.
The Sy Family also expressed dismay regarding two roads inside the village that are now permanently closed after structures were built on them.
The Sy’s reported that they were able to verify with the Office of the Building Official (OBO) that no permits were given by OBO for the construction of structures on Sindulan and New Frontier Streets inside the village.
Section 21 of the Local Government Code also provides that permanent road closures would require an ordinance from the City Council that is approved by two-thirds of its members.
A “verbal verification” conducted by residents of the village at the City Council revealed that no ordinance existed that would permit any road closure at the village.
In an interview with SunStar Cebu, CVHA president Ernesto Guiduquio admitted that the CVHA collects fees from vehicles that use their village as access roads.
But Guiduquio said these are just minimal fees and are only for vehicles with six wheels and above and the rate does not even reach P1,000.
The funds collected will be used by the CVHA for the maintenance of the roads and other facilities inside the village, he added.
Guiduquio also explained that the two closed streets were other access points to the village that had to be blocked for security reasons since the CVHA cannot afford to hire additional guards.
The village currently has two access points with guard houses with one leading to Barangay Kasambagan.
Collin Rosell, secretary to Mayor Michael Rama, told SunStar Cebu that City Hall will send personnel to the village to conduct an inspection and make a report about the issue.
Rosell said if an entity is collecting payments but does not own the property, there is something wrong with it, and should be investigated.
“We will check on that to clarify the different positions regarding the issue,” Rosell said in Cebuano.
Photo by Ivan Rey Tan
February 03, 2023
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