After the lives of her two sons were claimed by the river, Janice Navarro finally decided to heed the call of the city government to leave their house beside the creek in Banawa, Guadalupe and relocate to a safer place.
Navarro is the mother of Juros and John Carlo Taran, the two boys who died along with 26-year-old Arturo Cabradilla, after they were swept away by the strong river current when the footbridge in Sitio Riverside, Barangay Guadalupe, collapsed on Friday.
“Mag-agad na lang g’yud mi sa Urban Poor kung papahawaon mi diri,” said Navarro.
(We will just follow what the [Division for the Welfare of the] Urban Poor will say if they instruct us to relocate.)
Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan, in a phone interview, said the settlers beside the creek have already been given a relocation site in Barangay Binaliw in Cebu City before 2010.
“Daghan kaayo na sila sa una. Ang uban ana nila, nibalhin na paghatag og relocation site before pa sa akong term pag 2010,” said Gacasan.
(There used to be so many of them. The others moved to the relocation site after it was given, even before my term as barangay captain in 2010.)
According to Gacasan, the owner of the lot near the creek gave P50,000 cash assistance to the residents before they sold the property to an academic institution that is now constructing buildings, including a three-storey one, in the area.
“Even after the lot was sold, the buyer also gave financial assistance to the residents to be used as they supposedly moved to their relocation site,” said Gacasan.
Gacasan added that they have continuously urged the residents to move away from the area because of the dangers of flood.
“Tubagon ra man mi nila nga di sila mobalhin kay di man kuno na permamente ang baha,” Gacasan said.
(They would just answer us that they will not move to the relocation site because floods are not permanent.)
The village chief also said that before the footbridge collapsed on Friday, the Barangay Public Safety Officers (BPSO) had reminded the residents about the danger in the footbridge.
According to Gacasan, more than 10 houses are located near the creek within the three-meter easement that was provided by the company that is constructing structures in the area.
“Sa una, nagpuyo na sila sulod sa compound g’yud nga naay construction. Gipapahawa sila. Karon, naa sila nagpuyo within sa easement nga gibilin unta anang nag-construct diha,” Gacasan said.
(They used to live inside the compound with the construction. They were told to move out. Now, they’re occupying the easement provided by the construction company.)
After the incident, Navarro said they are left with no option but to accept her sons’ fate.
Juros, John Carlo and Cabradilla are set to be laid to rest on Thursday, October 5. According to Gacasan, the Cebu City government will shoulder the funeral expenses of the three casualties, while the barangay administration will shell out P5,000 for each of the casualties.
The death of Cabradilla and the Tarans did not seem to convince other residents to leave the area.
On Saturday, some male residents installed a ladder passing through the creek which they used as a footbridge, replacing the one that collapsed on Friday. Some of the men also placed a strip of plywood beside the riverbank in order to prevent those who walk beside it from falling into the river.