ELECTRICITY, water and even Internet connections are available at the two-hectare Nivel Hills property that the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu is offering as a relocation site for fire victims from sitio Avocado, Lahug.
It is a “completely livable place” said UP Cebu Dean Liza Corro.
“There are already people living there, and they have potable water and access to electricity, contrary to what many residents think when they say we’re relocating them ‘adto sa bukid’ (to the mountains),” Corro said.
The property, donated by the Cebu provincial government, has a sloping terrain and is located between the National Housing Authority’s Busay Heights subdivision and the GMA Network station in Nivel Hills.
The post-Christmas fire razed a 4,000-square-meter area that is part of UP Cebu’s 12.8-hectare property in barangay Lahug and Camputhaw.
Once the land is cleared, the university plans to pursue expansion plans that have been delayed because of resistance of the informal settlers. About 2,000 square meteres is being eyed for the planned UP High School building.
University architect Dioscoro Alesna said the relocation site is part of the government-owned Lot 2 next to the Cebu Public School Teachers Association (CPSTA) property. (See map)
Apas day care worker Allen Canoy, 31, has been living near the property for over a decade. He said they have stable supply of water and electricity.
“We also have telephone lines, and even steady Wi-Fi connection. We have lived here for so long. Maayo raman among kahimtang diri (We are comfortable here),” Canoy told Cebu Daily News.
A dirt road leads to the lot, which is a few meters away from the highway and the barangay hall.
Canoy said they take a 04C jeepney or a 04I jeepney from the barangay hall to go to downtown or uptown Cebu City. Once the area becomes populated, he said habal-habal motorcycles are expected to serve the area.
Some fire victims, however, find the relocation site “too far” and inconvenient.
“We have been living in this area (sitio Avocado) for over 20 years. Our children go to school in Lahug, and moving us elsewhere would be hard not only for us parents who need to work but also for our children, who now have to walk far to get to school,” Maria Diamante, 57, said in Cebuano.
Fernando Lagahi, 37, said the relocation site is too far.
“Gusto namo magtukod ug gamay nga murag tent didto sa fire site para mahimutang mi usa mi magtukod ug bag-o nga balay kung hain man mi ibutang. Hapit na balik ang klase ug dili nami makalugar dinhi sa school gym,” said Lagahi.
(We want to set up a tent at the fire site before we build a house somewhere else. Classes will resume soon and we cannot stay here in the school gym for long).