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Blind asks for accessible relocation area

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo December 11,2016 - 11:17 PM

 Apas fire victims continue to rebuild their homes amid reports of their impending relocation.  (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO).

Apas fire victims continue to rebuild their homes amid reports of their impending relocation. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO).

THE blind community have lived in Barangay Apas for decades and have flourished for years in their different livelihoods, such as providing massage services.

But when the fire razed their houses, they are faced with possible relocation in Barangay Kalunasan, a mountain village in Cebu City, accessible only to motorcycles-for- hire, more popularly known as habal-habal.

They are pleading with the Cebu City government for consideration to allow them to rebuild their homes in a place closer to the city and to the road where transportation is accessible.

Dionisia Pedrano, 62, has been living in Barangay Apas since she was five years old, when the area used to be the site of the Philippine Educating Service for the Blind before it became the Cebu Rehabilitation Center Incorporated (CRCI).

According to Pedrano, she has never been to Barangay Kalunasan. Considering her disability, Pedrano said she doesn’t know if she would survive in a place which is unfamiliar and already difficult to navigate even for an able-bodied person.

Distressed by the possibility of moving to a place too far from the usual transport, with four small grandchildren living with her, Pedrano said she is afraid of what might happen to her and her family and that she would eventually be left alone while her children work.

“Hangtod karon di pa gihapon ko kadawat nga wa na ko’y balay,” she lamented. “Guol gyud kaayo ko, dugay na gud to. Wa na ko’y balay unya na-ingon ra ato. Usa ka pagpamilok, nahimong uling. Paeta oi. Pasko unya wala na ko’y balay.”

(Until now I cannot accept that I no longer have a house. I am very sad.)

Pedrano implored the officials to give them consideration and relocate them to a place accessible to transportation and closer to the city. She also asked that they be provided with their basic needs, such as a roof over their heads, a toilet, water and electricity and a bed to sleep on.

“Mao ra na akong hangyo sa gobernador ba nga kung tagaan og relocation, dili lang unta sa bukid,” she said. “
(That is my only request to the governor that if we are relocated, it will not be in the mountain areas.)

Jose Yburan, 49, another blind fire victim, categorically said he would not transfer to Barangay Kalunasan.

He said he has been living in the area for 22 years and currently works in Mactan, Cebu, a daily commute which he could do with ease as his place of residence is near the road and has readily available jeepneys nearby.

Yburan said that he is appealing to the hearts of the government officials involved, especially Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, to give the blind fire victims of Apas a relocation place that would not take them too far away from the city.

“Ang akong huna-huna is di lang ko muadto sa Kalunasan,” he said. “”

(I think that I will not transfer to Kalunasan. .)

Emma Diay, president of the homeowner’s association of the area, said the plight of the blind fire victims is still being discussed although from what transpired during the consultation meeting last Friday, the other victims will eventually be relocated to Barangay Kalunasan.

According to Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman, the fire victims have reportedly been allowed to build temporary shelters in the area but only for three months, which is about the time it would take to fully prepare the relocation site.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. could not be reached to verify the report.

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TAGS: Apas, Cebu City, Cebu city government, Cebu City Mayor, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, fire, fire victims, Kalunasan, livelihood, mayor Tomas Osmeña, rehabilitation, Tomas Osmeña, transportation

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