Residents affected by clearing operations seek dialog with Rama

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MORE than 100 residents who will be affected by the Cebu City Government’s ongoing clearing operations gathered in the covered court of Barangay San Nicolas proper on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2022.

Most of them are members of the Urban Poor Alliance, who live within the three-meter easement zone along the city’s waterways.

Gemma Rosaceña, the group’s head, said they want to seek a dialogue with Mayor Michael Rama.

“They are not against the City Government’s plan (to demolish structures within the three-meter easement zone). They just want assurance that their lives won’t be worse off where they will be relocated,” Rosaceña said in Cebuano.

She said the affected residents agreed to write a formal letter to the City Government to discuss their current plight and their future.

They don’t want to leave their homes without receiving financial assistance or without a proper relocation site as most of them can barely make ends meet, she said.

Agosto Castillano and his wife Fe have been living along the Mahiga Creek in Sitio Santo Niño in Barangay Mabolo for decades. They were among the attendants at last Saturday’s gathering.

Agosto said he had to move their house when the City cleared structures along waterways back when Rama was still vice mayor.

He said he doesn’t understand why he’ll have to move his house again, which is why he appealed to the mayor to exempt him from the latter’s latest directive.