Mandaue fish pen demolition moved to January 2024

Mandaue fish pen demolition moved to January 2024

CLEARING operations for at least 30 alleged illegal fish pens in Sitio Tubigan, Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City, have been postponed to January 2024, according to a city official.

Lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, head of the Mandaue City Legal Office and the City’s Task Force “Atong Problema, Atong Solusyon,” said Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, that this decision is a directive from Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Ibañez said the demolition of the fish pens held responsible for flooding in certain parts of the city during downpours, may start in January next year. To recall, fish pen owners, who were also residents of the area, were earlier given notice to vacate by Oct. 30 and voluntarily demolish their fish pens.

Ibañez said the City met with the first batch of landowners on Wednesday, and all agreed to the demolition and gave their assurance that the fish pen owners would never return to the area.

“They (landowners) are really happy that (Mandaue) City is doing something about the flood problem. There will be more batches of meetings because there are many of them,” said Ibañez.

Lack of permit

Ibañez said that during their meeting on Wednesday, they found out that the fish pen owners did not have the consent of the landowners and had no permits to operate a business.

“Tinuod na naay mga panginabuhian dira but we must conduct our business within the abouts of the law sad. Usa walay business permit, walay pagtugot sa mga tag-iya sa yuta nahimutangan sa wetland. As a matter of fact, na shock ang mga landowners nga daghan na diay’g fish pen dira,” said Ibañez.

(There are indeed livelihoods there, but we must conduct our business within the law. One, they do not have a business permit; they also have no permission from the owners of the land where the wetland is located. As a matter of fact, the landowners were shocked that there were already many fish pens there.)

Desilting, dredging

Ibañez said if all the landowners would agree, the clearing, desilting, and dredging operations, with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways, would start by January next year and would conclude in six months.

Earlier in October, Ibañez shared the City’s intent to demolish the fish pens covering around 146,270 square meters, which are situated in wetlands, emphasizing the areas supposedly function as catch basins that hold rain and run-off water from neighboring areas like Cebu City but could not serve its function due to so much silt.

City Councilor Cynthia Cinco Remidio also questioned whether the residents are aware that the area where the fish pens are located has a two-meter in diameter sinkhole connected to Barangay Cabancalan, which absorbs water from the mountain areas of Cebu City, that lets water flow underground and emerge at the Jagobiao outfall.

Fish pen owners’ appeal

The Mandaue City Government, through its Housing and Urban Development Office, served a notice to the fish pen owners in October, giving them the privilege to demolish their structures, and promised to give them P28,000 cash assistance.

However, the initially scheduled clearing was halted when the city council decided to hear the sides of the fish pen owners and other stakeholders involved during one of its sessions.

During the session, Oliver Cabahug, president of Tubigan Banilad Homeowners Association, and member Rachel Bregente, representing the fish pen owners, appealed to the city government to discontinue the demolition and find other ways to solve the flood problem without compromising their livelihood for roughly 30 years.

Cabahug also stressed that they have nowhere to go if the demolition would push through, adding that almost half of them are already residents there.


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