FOLLOWING the notices earlier sent to them, around 400 residents within Osmeña Shrine in Barangay Kalunasan are being asked by Cebu City Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña to peacefully and voluntarily vacate.
The acting mayor also questioned why it took long for the barangay to act on it when they noticed that there were constructions in the area.
“I hope they do (voluntary tear down their structures) that, because they have no right to build there. There is a law,” Osmeña said.
The Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) served last Tuesday the 10-day notice to voluntarily vacate, which will lapse on June 10, to the residents.
She reiterated that her husband, Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña, did not give them a go-signal to build their houses there, considering that they don’t own the property.
Osmeña emphasized that what they are doing is illegal, considering that the area is a no-build zone and construction of any structure there has no permit from the City Government.
“I won’t say that they’re lying, but he (Tomas) doesn’t say that. Tommy doesn’t do that,” she said.
Although the City Government has an existing socialized housing program given to the less-privileged residents, Osmeña said the 400 individuals will still have to be evaluated if they’re qualified for the program.
Considering that they have means to build their houses in Osmeña Shrine, Osmeña said they must have resources to go back where they use to live.
Some of the residents claimed that they were victims of fire and demolition and have nowhere to go, and thus decided to settle in the shrine after they were told that construction of houses is allowed there.
“Basta they don’t belong there, they have to come from somewhere, where do they come from? They came somewhere,” the acting mayor said.
As to the actions taken by the barangay, Kalunasan Barangay Captain Nunilon Monares said it’s not true that they did not coordinate with the City Government.
In fact, Monares said that last February, they even inspected the area along with lawyer Collin Rosell of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) when reports of construction of houses in the area reached his office.
“Dugay nako nagsige ug badlong ana nila. Gipangtangtang pa man gani namo ang mga sa straw nga gimarka nila sa ilang area pero nibalik na sila kay naa lagi nagpaalig-alig (I’ve been warning them. We even removed the straw markers in the area, but they’re back because someone assured them),” he said.
Barangay tanods assigned in the area were even harassed by some of those who built their houses in the area, who were mostly not residents of Barangay Kalunasan.
Cebu City Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña denied claims by illegal settlers that he allowed them to live at the Osmeña Shrine in Barangay Kalunasan.
“Their lying. How could I give something that isn’t mine?” Osmeña told reporters yesterday.
The newly-elected Cebu City Mayor, who was a guest of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources during their launching of this year’s National Environment Month at the Osmeña Reforestation Project in Barangay Camp 7, Minglanilla, told reporters that while the Osmeña Shrine is under his family’s name, it isn’t his to give.
“They can always apply for public housing and undergo the process. But what is the reason for moving in? Because I told them they can go in and help themselves? Unsa ni? Buffet sa Marco Polo Hotel?” Osmena said.
Earlier, illegal settlers at the Osmeña Shrine claimed the Cebu City Mayor-elect reportedly promised them that they can live at the area once he wins the elections.