Ownership debunked, but couple to get house

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan. (File photo)
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan. (File photo)

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard Chan will include in the City’s housing initiatives in the area the couple that had claimed to own a portion of the land hit by a big fire last December in Sitio Sta. Maria in Barangay Pusok, even if their claim was not proven.

This was agreed upon during their meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.

On that day, the couple Datu Amihan and his partner Baenay Sampaguita went to Chan’s office, along with their tribe members, for a meeting, and they presented documents, which did not validate their ownership claim.

Last Jan. 9, Chan had visited the site where the couple reportedly built their house after Pusok village chief Ranie Emperio sought his assistance following complaints from some residents who claimed that they were not among the fire victims.

Chan then asked them to halt their construction, saying it could hamper the ongoing reblocking of the site.

The two presented a document issued by a certain Datu Leon Kilat to prove their claim, which did not convince the mayor, who asked them to provide more valid documents on Thursday.

Informal settler

During the meeting, Amihan, later identified by his full name Amelito Jimenez, admitted to formerly working as a security guard for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), one of the lot owners in the area.

The lot is owned by three private institutions--General Milling Corp. (GMC), Peza and one businessman, Lim Tan Ho.

Amihan disclosed that he had been an informal settler in Sta. Maria for 36 years and among the fire-affected individuals.

Chan assured Amihan and his family of relocation to the area. Meanwhile, both parties agreed that Amihan should stop building his house until the reblocking is completed.

Housing project

Also on Thursday, Chan met with officials of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to discuss the City’s plan to provide the victims with socialized housing instead of vouchers for them to rebuild their homes should the City become successful in negotiating for the land’s rights.

He made the statement, adding that he continues to appeal for the land acquisition in Sitio Sta. Maria from its current owners.

If the plan goes through, Chan said the City aims to establish at least two to three four-story condominium-type units in the area.

About 1,575 families were victims of the fire, the City Social Welfare Development Office reported in December.

Chan said the initial projection is for around 465 houses to be allowed on the site once the reblocking is completed. The remaining victims who would not be accommodated in Sta. Maria would be relocated to a GMC-owned lot behind a local hotel, still within Barangay Pusok.

Chan said the national government will subsidize 70 percent of the housing amortization amount, and he would propose to the city council to shell out 10 percent as the counterpart fund for five years, leaving just 20 percent to be paid for by the beneficiaries.

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