Monday, December 06, 2021

Around 60 families get home lots from City Government 7 days after fire

EVEN with the attempt from a police officer to put on hold the operation, close to 60 families who were affected by the fire that gutted houses in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, started to reconstruct their houses yesterday.

The Cebu City Government started the distribution of home lots to the affected families, who were structure owners, seven days after they were displaced by the fire.

As of yesterday, 59 out of the 70 structure owners were given home lots.

Each of them got a 32-sq.m. floor area, while the remaining lots will be converted into public facilities, such as communal toilets and a chapel, among others.

The distribution of home lots was facilitated by City Administrator Lucelle Mercado and the chief of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), lawyer Collin Rosell, along with other City Hall workers.

However, while distribution of home lots was ongoing yesterday, a police officer, who introduced himself as Supt. Clarito Baja of the Police Community Relations Division of the Police Regional Office 7, went to the area to see Mercado and Rosell.


Baja told the city officials that he was asked by the regional office to request them to temporarily put on hold the clearance they gave to the families to reconstruct their houses since there are still pending negotiations between the City and the administration of the University of the Philippines Cebu (UPC), who claims ownership over the lot.

“Niari kuno siya aron ipaabot ang directive nga iyang nadawat nga wa lang sa’y activity nga ipatuman diri kay naa pay panagsabot (He was here to tell us about a directive that all activity should be put on hold pending negotiation),” Rosell said.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to interview Baja about his directive, but he refused.

Since he did not show any written directive and who ordered it, Mercado and Rosell did not heed him.

“We asked him his basis, being a policeman kahibaw ka nga mo-enforce ka ug mga orders, but whose orders are they implementing and what kind of order, pero wala man siya ka-provide,” Rosell said.

City officials insisted that they won’t keep families from going back, considering that they are victims of a disaster.


While residents were rebuilding, at least six private guards from UPC guarded the area.

Aside from it, classes in Lahug Elementary School, which was used as evacuation center for the fire survivors, will also resume today, and the rooms should be vacated.

Seventeen classrooms were occupied by the fire survivors.

Since not all of the fire survivors were able to get their home lot yesterday, Mercado said some of them will still have to stay in the school.

They will be compressed in eight classrooms, while the rest will be vacated to allow the school to hold classes there.

As to the students in the seven classrooms, Mercado said, the school’s gym was already converted into makeshift classrooms where teachers can hold their classes.

“We are hopeful that by Wednesday all of the classes will be done in classrooms already and all of the affected families will be able to go back to their area,” she added.
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