cdn mobile

Illegal settlers

By: Editorial November 16,2016 - 09:31 PM


Much as it won’t sit well with urban poor rights groups, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s decision to dismantle the houses and to bar settlers from occupying the Osmeña Shrine has some valid points.

First, and it had something to do with prior experience, is that the continued occupation of the Osmeña Shrine was opposed by nearby residents who were also against plans by an evangelical group to build an interfaith cemetery there that was supported by the mayor.

The second had to do with the conditions set by the province to Cebu City when it donated the area that is now Osmeña Shrine; and that is to either develop it as a park, roads or playground.

There were reports of plans by the previous administration to develop the area as a park, only for it to be shelved. While he opposed the occupation by settlers of the shrine area, Osmeña is also not keen on building a drug rehabilitation center there unless a proponent comes forward to spearhead the project.

But this we gathered as much: the nearby residents who will be affected by any project in the Osmeña Shrine area should be consulted. In this case, it is a subdivision occupied by homeowners who were mortified at previous plans by the Osmeña administration to allow said evangelical group to build a cemetery there.

There were concerns about the pollution that would be caused in case a cemetery was built there, and though it didn’t push through, reports that a drug rehab center is planned in the site should also be looked into.

When the settlers began moving into the Osmeña Shrine, supposedly on the say-so of Osmeña who vehemently denied the claim, the homeowners had every right to be concerned because if left unchecked, the area would have been teeming with occupants with no title or legal claim to back up their occupancy.

Last time we checked, squatting is still against the law even if urban poor groups and militants would declare to high heavens that land should be free for everyone to claim as their own.

The mayor had a point when he suggested that the settlers should instead approach his de facto city administrator Bimbo Fernandez to thresh out their concerns rather than demand a relocation site which would take a lot of work and give them an excuse to continue occupying the Osmeña Shrine while a site is sought for them to live in.

If one wants to talk about holistic solutions, then the local governments of Cebu in the metro area and countryside should help each other relocate the residents back to where they came from, which is usually the countryside.

Among the primary reasons for the burgeoning population of illegal settlers in the Metro Cebu area, including Cebu City, is the failure of these settlers to find employment that would pay for their stay in the cities.

In that respect, Osmeña should talk with other officials in helping him out with the problem of settlers in his turf.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, illegal settlers, Osmeña Shrine, Tomas Osmeña

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.