5 houses torn down in Capitol Site; Kadamay slams demolition

AT LEAST five of the 150 houses set to be demolished in Sitio Sta. Cruz, Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City, were destroyed Wednesday, February 17, despite appeal from residents who earlier vowed to raise their case to the Supreme Court.

The demolition team was not able to complete its job because of rains Wednesday.

Based on the demolition order issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Wilfredo Navarro in January 2014, a total of 150 houses occupied by 283 individuals should be destroyed. Some of the houses were demolished in 2015.

The demolition of the remaining houses was supposed to be done Tuesday, February 16, but tension among angry residents and members of the demolition team arose, keeping the court sheriff from implementing the order.

The residents claimed that the lot where their houses, made of light materials, stand is not part of the contested lot but is a public domain.

They said Tuesday that Navarro’s final notice to demolish issued last February 5 covers only Lot 6085-A-1 and does not include the public land where their structures stand. The said land of public domain beside the Capitol is not involved in any case, they said.

Militant urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), in a press statement, condemned the demolition, saying it only took a week for the Cebu City Government to get started -- with Mayor Mike Rama returning back to office only last February 8 after his 60-day suspension -- and “it doesn’t look like it will be letting up.”

Kadamay said the demolition came right after Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella “vetoed the proposed demolition moratorium that would have given the informal settlers a year off from violent demolitions.”

It said instead of providing government services, the City is spending “to erase the poor from the streets of Cebu.”

“Halata namang nagmamadali sina Labella sa demolisyon. Mula’t sapul ang aming tindig ay itigil ang lahat ng uri ng demolisyon at bumuo ng mga alternatibong lilikha ng trabaho, panirahan at serbisyo. Tanging mga korporasyon at gobyerno lamang ang makikinabang dito,” said Estrelieta Bagasbas, Kadamay vice chairperson and spokesperson of Alyansa Kontra-Demolisyon.

Kadamay lauded the residents of Barangay Capitol Site in their initial efforts to block the demolition of their community.

“Tuluy-tuloy an gaming suporta sa lahat ng maralita, lalo na iyung mga apektado ng demolisyon. Isa iyun sa pinakamasahol na paraan ng pagmamaltrato sa tao. Kaisa namin ang mga taga Barangay Capitol. Forced evacuations are one of the worst forms of human rights violations,” said Bagasbas. (Sunnex/With Sun.Star Cebu/PR)

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