BARANGAY officials and residents of Purok 1, Bolton Bridge, Barangay 40-D Poblacion started last Wednesday the voluntary demolition of houses by the riverbank.

Davao City Engineer’s Office (CEO) officer-in-charge lawyer Joseph Dominic Felizarta, in an interview with SunStar Davao on Thursday, said the voluntary demolition is along the identified danger zone in the area. This is also based on the demolition order they issued to the barangay officials and various agencies last December 27, 2017.

“The residents and the barangay captain (village chief) asked to conduct voluntary demolition as it was arranged during the pre-demolition conference. They want to do it voluntarily to secure their belongings,” he said.

He added that as of January 3, some 10 houses were already demolished; however, on Thursday, no demolition took place due to the heavy rains. Demolition during rainy day is also prohibited by law.

Felizarta said despite the voluntary demolition, a 10-men team from the CEO was tasked to check if the residents are really doing the demolition.

“We are in the area to check if the residents are not faking the demolition. If we gain proof that they do so, we will conduct outright demolition,” he said.

Felizarta added that target completion for the demolition is estimated to be at around three to four days as they are also considering the weather condition.

He said areas that are prone to be submerged in water, especially under the Bolton Bridge, are prioritized.

He added that submerged areas like Bankerohan, Felizarta said they asked residents not to return to their houses, which were previously affected by flood brought by typhoon Vinta.

He said the demolition of houses in danger zones has been recommended by the National Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Office of the Civil Defense.

Felizarta added that they needed the certification of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor prior to the issuance of the final demolition order that prompted the voluntary demolition under Bolton Bridge.

The first and final notice of violation for the illegal structures built at Purok 1, Bolton Bridge, Barangay 40-D Poblacion was issued last August 23, 2017, the first notice of demolition was issued last October 26, 2017, but it was not pushed since residents asked for extension.

The demolition order issued last December 27, 2017, signed by lawyer Lawrence Bantiding under authority of the City mayor, if final and no longer extendible.

The Office of the Davao City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) last September 7, 2017 forwarded the results of their census tagging of residents of the area to be demolished.

Based on their report, they tagged a total of 143 structures and out of that, only one is qualified for relocation, and the remaining 142 were disqualified for relocation.

The tagging determined whether or not the occupants of the said area can be considered as underprivileged and homeless citizen as defined by RA 7279 Section 3 (t).

Among the basis for disqualifications are: date of entry under a.) Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) law of 1992 b.) Uninterviewed (Section 1 Chapter 2 SIR Code) c) Age Range (IRR Article, Section 4 of Shelter Code, and d) Total Family Income (Section 3, Article 1 UDHA law).