Cebu City Police to heed mayor’s request to hold off demolition in Barangay Apas
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) will comply with the request of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella not to intervene in the demolition of Lot 937 in Barangay Apas, Cebu City.
Police Colonel Gemma Vinluan, the director of CCPO, said the police cannot assist a demolition which has not been approved by the city government.
“Actually, all demolitions in the city, we will not provide police assistance without the certification of the Office of the Mayor,” said Vinluan.
She said the police will remain vigilant for the security in the area and will be ready to keep the peace should conflict arise, but they will not take any sides.
Vinluan said heeding Labella’s request was not for the mayor’s sake.
The decision was made to uphold Republic Act 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, which states that no demolition can occur in residential lots if no proper relocation has been given to the residents.
In previous statements, Labella has asked the police not to assist any demolition to be done in Apas while the city government appealed to the court to postpone the said demolition for six months while they find a proper relocation site for those affected.
Vinluan said the police understands that the battle for the lot is in the courts, and should be dealt with by the judiciary.
The job of the police is to assist and to keep the peace, but they also follow the process, which involves coordination with the local government unit (LGU).
For the meantime, Vinluan said she directed the stations to keep an eye in the area following reports of conflicts rising in Lot 937, as the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command has also sent security personnel to guard the area.
Lot 937 is a disputed area in Apas located at the back of Camp Lapu-Lapu, the headquarters of Cencom, where 200 families of retired soldiers live, but is now being claimed by a certain Mariano Godinez.
The Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 9 ordered last June the demolition of residences on Lot 937, but the demolitions have not been carried out following protests from the residents, represented by the Archangels Residence Mergence Inc. (Armi). /bmjo
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