Finally, occupants agree to move out of Lot 937

THE Cebu Provincial Government and residents of the controversial Lot 937 in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas, Cebu City have agreed on socialized housing that will be built on the lot offered by the Capitol.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia met on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, with the affected residents and representatives from the Home Development Mutual Fund (more popularly known as the Pag-Ibig Fund), National Housing Authority, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, and Cebu City Government.

The 153 identified affected households can avail themselves of the housing program through the Pag-Ibig Fund’s home loan financing.

According to Sugbo News, the Capitol’s online news portal, the housing agencies and Pag-Ibig agreed to come up with easy payment terms and period, and the loanable amount for the socialized housing project by December.

The relocation site will be an 8,000-square-meter lot located in one of the 16 lots that were turned over to the Capitol by the Department of National Defense last Oct. 3.

The Provincial Government has allocated 33 square meters for each resident who wants to avail of the socialized housing program.

Retired Army Col. Jefferson Omandam, president of the Archangels Residence Mergence Inc., told SunStar Cebu Wednesday, Nov. 16, that this is a welcome development for the displaced residents.

Omandam also appreciated that the housing program will be handled by Pag-Ibig since this ensures that their new houses will be compliant with government regulations like on the easement, drainage and right of way.

He said they had not yet been informed of the amount that they would pay since the concerned agencies will still have to conduct the appraisal of the property.

“That was a good gesture by the governor that she helped us with our current situation. This is a welcome development,” Omandam said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Collin Rosell, executive secretary of Mayor Michael Rama, said the Cebu City Government also has available lots that the affected residents can avail of through the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor.

But these lots are located in different areas in the city, so it would not be guaranteed that the same neighborhood could still be intact, he said.

Rosell also made it clear that they can no longer avail of the city’s relocation site if they will choose to be a beneficiary of Capitol’s socialized housing.

The Province and Cebu City entered into a deal during the time of then governor, now Vice. Gov. Hilario Davide III, that set aside Lot 1112 in Barangay Lahug as relocation site for the residents.

Also on Tuesday, Sheriff Edilberto Suarin filed a case of indirect contempt before the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 against 30 members of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for disrupting the demolition in Lot 937 on Monday, Nov. 14.

Suarin, implementer of the court order to demolish structures on the property, said the demolition was temporarily halted on Monday when the PAF members installed a barricade in the area.

In the progress report that he submitted to the court, Suarin said he tried to talk to a Lt. Col. Efren Cudal, legal officer of the 560th Air Base Group, but the latter reportedly refused to let members of the demolition team enter the property.

Suarin said they also had a conference at the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) on Monday morning, which was attended by CCPO Director Col. Ireneo Dalogdog, personnel of the PAF and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and Edgar Erice, representative of Mazy’s Capital Inc., Lot 937’s owner.

Suarin said the PAF and OSG personnel couldn’t produce a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the demolition, which was why the demolition resumed.

Erice, who was interviewed during the filing of the complaint on Tuesday afternoon, explained that the complaint was filed because the PAF members were still in the area and they again tried to stop the demolition without a TRO.

He said he was surprised by the arrival of the PAF personnel since Mazy’s Capital had already discussed the matter with the Visayas Command.

He said Mazy’s Capital is ready to face the PAF in court if the latter files a case against them.

Last week, the Lot 937 occupants had attempted to stop the demolition that began last Nov. 3 by claiming that the property is owned by the government and not by the private group claiming the property.

Anne Martel of the Archangels Residence Mergence Inc. presented a disbursement voucher of a payment made by the government in 1939 to a certain Felisa Sy Cip for the expansion of the military camp.

With this, Martel argued that the property is no longer owned by a private individual but is currently owned by the Republic of the Philippines.

Erice has revealed that the plan for the development of the 4.6-hectare property will include the use of 6,000 square meters of the area for the construction of a hotel. (BBT / PJB )