AT least 30 residents of Barangay Ermita, Cebu City signed a petition yesterday to oppose the demolition of seven barangay outposts at the Carbon public market.

In an order dated Sept. 22, Mayor Tomas Osmeña directed Jesusa Berdido, chief of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team, to clear the structures that reportedly encroach on Carbon Unit III Complex and the Freedom Park.

“This clearing order is issued pursuant to Article 694 of the Civil Code (Nuisance), Section 3 of City Ordinance (CO) 1481and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management,” read a portion of the order.

“Summary abatement”

Section 3 of CO 1481, or an Ordinance Regulating the Construction of Buildings and Other Structures, states that buildings, structures or contraptions erected in public places, such as streets, thoroughfares, sidewalks, plazas or in any public place intended for public gatherings, may be declared as nuisance, which may be subjected to summary abatement.

“In compliance with due process, you are to serve the concerned parties the usual seven days notice or warning. Thereafter, for failure to comply, you are directed to clear the area and to remove the aforementioned illegal structures,” Osmeña said in his clearing order.

However, Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo Rupinta said that they only received the demolition notice from Probe last Thursday afternoon.

He said they were suppose to have a three-day grace period to voluntarily remove the structures from the day of receipt.

Rupinta said that he would have wanted to send a letter of appeal to the Office of the Mayor yesterday, but was informed that the barangay posts were being demolished while he was in a meeting with fish vendors from Calderon St.

“Our outposts have been there since the year 2000. It has not only helped the barangay install police visibility in the area, but has also become a place where residents can bring their concerns. One of our outposts is located at the mouth of Sitio Bato, which is our most problematic area. With the outpost, we have maximized our efforts in manning the area,” he said.

He lamented that Berido may have been confused with the effectivity of the notice the Probe team sent to Ermita.

Ulterior motives

“What she counted was the day she sent out the demolition notice. I argued that she got it wrong because she should have started counting on the day of receipt. As much as were willing to heed the mayor’s order, we will still make an appeal. Even our residents initiated a petition because they themselves know how important our outposts are,” he added.

Berido, for her part, said that if the mayor denies Ermita’s motion for reconsideration, they will have to implement the order and continue with the demolition.

“I asked the opinion of (City Lawyer Joseph) Bernaldez and he told me to give consideration and postpone the implementation of the order (for now),” she said.

The Probe team stopped the operation, but not after the outpost at the back of Carbon Unit I was already destroyed.

Rupinta said he has no idea if there were ulterior motives behind the demolition since he was working on making peace with at least 100 fish vendors, whose stalls he ordered cleared last week. (RTF)