Fire victims say no sharers, renters at CICC

CICC
CICCFile Photo

THE leader of the Tipolo Residents Association (TRA) has denied claims that there are sharers and renters occupying land within the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) that was intended only for Mandaue City fire victims.

TRA chairperson Ursina Torregosa said no one is renting houses or rooms there since the property does not belong to them.

Her statement comes in the wake of Mandaue City Administrator Jamaal James Calipyanan’s pronouncements that there are 156 sharers and renters on the CICC compound living among fire victims.

Housing and Urban Development Office (Hudo) head Karlo Cabahug also Hudo’s assessment showed there are sharers and renters living at the CICC.

He said Hudo’s assessment was based on the pre-fire status of the residents.

Before the June 2019 fire that hit around 500 houses in Barangay Tipolo, some residents were renters. After the fire, these individuals evacuated to the CICC and built their own structures, leading Hudo to classify them as “renters.”

Extended families

Sharers, Cabahug clarified, were extended family members or those living rent-free with acquaintances who constructed adjacent structures.

Cabahug believes there was a misunderstanding among residents regarding the definition of sharers and renters.

Nonetheless, residents argue that Hudo’s classifications had no legal basis.

The TRA said all fire victims currently living at the CICC should be included in the relocation plan claiming that they have a right to 9.2 hectares of land inside the CICC that was earlier promised as relocation site for Mandaue fire victims.

The Mandaue City Government is now pushing for the demolition of houses within the CICC to pave the way for the construction of the One Stop Shop Center and the Mandaue City Government Center.

Many residents, who have been fire victims since 2019 and relocated to the CICC by the local government, reportedly now live in unsafe and unstable structures.

Despite protests and strained dialogues, the Mandaue City Government has refused to allow them to return to their original communities.

Urban poor residents protested on Friday, June 14, 2024, against the planned demolition of their homes.

Residents also questioned why some fire victims were excluded from the beneficiary list, despite having lived in the CICC for years.

For his part, Calipyanan said there are more than 500 beneficiaries and 156 sharers and renters.

Torregosa continued to refute these claims, asserting that there are over 600 beneficiaries and no sharers or renters within the CICC.

Torregosa explained some residents extended their homes to accommodate their families, including married children who have their own families. She said these individuals were not sharers but part of the beneficiary families.

Once relocated to lifetime shelter facilities at the back of the CICC known as “Pasilong sa Mandaue,” each housing unit that will be provided by the government can accommodate only six people.

Cabahug said they are working on solutions for families exceeding this limit.

The relocation is expected to begin in July 2024, pending the completion of the necessary housing units. / CAV

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