At least fourteen structures built within the easement of a tributary to the Mahiga Creek in Cebu City were demolished and cleared by City Hall.
According to Raquel Arce, head of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement (Probe) team, the clearing was ordered by Mayor Tomas Osmeña after the structures were found to be within the three-meter easement of the Mabolo Creekside, which connects to the Mahiga Creek.
The clearing started last Tuesday but has not been completed until yesterday due to the rains. Arce said they are still 40 percent done with the demolition.
“We found out that these structures have been commercialized. Some are made of light materials, others with concrete, but they divided it into rooms and they accept bedspacers,” Arce said.
She added that the real owners of the structures already have their own homes on the other side of the creek.
In the original clearing order issued by the mayor, a total of 17 structures were identified to have been cleared. But Arce said they found out that three of the structures are qualified to avail of the city’s socialized housing program after a social profiling conducted by City Hall’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP).
However, since the city still does not have a relocation site ready for the owners of these three structures, Arce said the mayor ordered to hold off the clearing of these three structures.
Mabolo Barangay Captain Rey Ompoc said the structures, which are located in Sitio Sta. Cruz, were supposed to be cleared two years ago during the time of former Mayor Michael Rama, but it did not push through.
He said a portion of the lot where the structures are standing is owned by a businessman.
“The owner wanted to use the property already. In September this year, they wrote a letter to the barangay asking for an update since they have been asking for the clearing since two years ago,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Ompoc added that they requested the owner to wait until December for the clearing to give more time for the structure owners to relocate.The owner has even given P3,000 as assistance for them to voluntarily destroy their structures.
“The area has to be used already and it is also part of a creek. The owners of those structures already have their own houses across the creek,” Ompoc said, confirming Arce’s observations.