Remaining 36 families refuse to leave homes in Hipodromo

Cebu City map.
Cebu City map.

DESPITE the demolition on Feb. 14, 2024, 36 families in Barangay Hipodromo in Cebu City have refused to vacate their homes until they are provided with proper relocation.

These families said their names were not included in the court order for demolition. However, in a previous interview with SunStar Cebu, court sheriff Erwin Bureros said all houses within the lot were to be demolished.

On Feb. 14, residents of Lot A-1-B near the entrance road of the barangay faced eviction, as Bureros enforced a demolition order in favor of the private lot owner Aznar Basque Properties Inc. The writ of demolition was signed by Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Anacleto Debalucos.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Feb. 28, Hipodromo Barangay Captain Ruperto Bacolod said that upon their meeting with City Government officials, they requested Bureros to temporarily halt the demolition on the lot on Feb. 29.

Bureros said the demolition will resume around 9 a.m. on March 9.

Bacolod also requested the City Government to expedite the assistance and relocation process, saying relocation and financial assistance might take some time as these still need to be processed by the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP).

He said the assistance from the City Government is worth P28,000.

Bacolod said around 70 of the 145 families listed to vacate the lot have already left the area, while some residents have relocated to the Cahipa Multipurpose Gym in the barangay. Instead of relocating, some residents accepted a P57,000 payment from the private owner.

Lester Batobalani, 31, who has lived on the affected lot for 30 years, said he was surprised to arrive home and find their house gone.

Batobalani said his family did not accept the payment since it was not enough to help with relocation.

“Kadtong nagpabilin diri wa nagpabayad (Those who stayed did not accept the amount offered),” he said. / RJM

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