AN official and some 50 residents of Barangay Apas, Cebu City cried foul over the closure of a road in Barangay Kasambagan.
Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman and the residents said J. Panis is an access road used in going to Cebu Memorial Park, St. Michael Village, Georich Townhomes and the office of the Visayan Electric Co. (Veco), among others.
They lamented the closure of the road when it has always been used as a public road and was even recognized by the Department of Public Works and Highways as a national road known as the Old Cadre Road.
“Several months ago, a portion of this road was closed, notwithstanding its continued use and public character, on the basis that it has supposedly become a part of private property. Ironically, a private road had to be opened in lieu of the public road for the community to access,” said Ayuman and the residents.
They are asking the City Government’s Land Management Council headed by lawyer Janesis Ponce to look into the matter and make an intervention for the sake of the residents.
“The residents of this area are really at a loss at how this happened and why the general welfare of the community has been ignored and left to the hands of private individuals,” they added.
When interviewed, Ayuman said there are several jurisprudence that prohibits the closure of a national road and its eventual conversion into a residential or private lot.
He cited a 1991 jurisprudence involving White Plains Association and the Quezon City Government wherein an “undeveloped road lot was withdrawn from the commerce of man to be devoted for the use of the general public.”
The same jurisprudence, Ayuman said, provides that the general public have a legal right to demand the demolition of illegally-built structures in public roads.
It added that government officials have the public duty to clear the streets and restore them to their specific public purpose.
J. Panis was closed to vehicular traffic in the last quarter of 2015.
It was temporarily opened, though, during the observance of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day upon the request of the Cebu City Transportation Office.
It was closed again after the activity with huge concrete blocs blocking it. A huge billboard was also placed there.