‘SETTLERS NEED TO LEAVE’

By: Nestle L. Semilla June 08,2015 - 11:31 PM

Rama wants Lahug River, creeks cleared of occupants, structures

About 120 families will be affected by a clearing operation ordered by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Days before the delayed onset of the rainy season, Rama reiterated yesterday that he wants illegal structures dismantled and removed from the city’s rivers and creeks.

Rama specifically pointed to the shanties along the Lahug River that occupy portions of barangays Carreta and Tejero in his target list.

He appointed barangay Tinago chairman Joel Garganera to personally head the clearing operations in the area.

Garganera confirmed to reporters that at least 120 families will be affected by the clearing operations.

Problem

“(There will be a confrontation) because what do you expect when hundreds of houses are built on top of a creek….when the rains come and you look at the area, every time there’s a downpour, what happens there?,” the mayor asked reporters.

Rama said he will meet with Cebu City Hall department heads who will assist Garganera in clearing these rivers and creeks of shanties before the rains come.

Even with the removal of the shanties and the clearing of accumulated garbage in the occupied portions of Carreta and Tejero, Garganera said he cannot assure people that the water level won’t rise in the river.

“Nag-accumulate ang among garbage atong na resolve but as to dredging wala g’yud then mao nay problema karon (The accumulated garbage there we can resolve, but as to dredging there’s still nothing done so that’s our problem now),” he said.

Garganera said it’s possible that the number of families to be affected by the clearing operation will increase.

Alternative dwelling

“I understand that City Hall had data last year about the number of families there but the numbers may have increased by now.

You know how dynamic squatters are, karon butangan lang nimo og lamesa sunod ugma nanay atop semento (now they place a table and tomorrow they have a roof over a house),” he said.

Rama said he wanted the affected families transferred first to a barangay gym or school.

Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said he isn’t opposed to the clearing operation of shanties along the creeks and rivers which are danger zones for floods.

“But the city has the responsibility to provide alternative dwelling for these people, duna tay relocation giandam ang syudad (is there a relocation site prepared by the city)?” he said in a phone interview.

He said it’s impossible to relocate the families to a school due to the ongoing school season.

Living conditions

“Dili na pwede i-relocate pud sa complex dili na humane ilahang pagpuyo (They cannot be relocated to a complex, the living conditions are not humane),” said Dizon, who chairs the Cebu City Council’s housing committee.

Dizon said he wonders why the Rama administration is unable to provide a suitable relocation site for displaced families despite a P350-million budget for site acquisition and another P250,000 for site development in this year’s budget.

In a privilege speech he delivered last March, Dizon said the Cebu City government continues to miss housing targets resulting in increasing backlogs in the city’s 80 barangays.

He said Cebu City has 41,000 families living in informal settlements in public and private lands. Of that number, about 10,000 households are located in danger zones like creeks, rivers and other waterways.

With an average size of five persons per family, Dizon said more than 200,000 residents live under precarious conditions.

The Cebu City government provided resettlement for  10,464 families in 15 years from 1998 to 2012, or an average of 700 families per year.

Last month, the Cebu City Council approved an ordinance authored by Dizon and Councilor Nestor Archival Sr. that would mandate the allocation of about two percent of the city’s annual budget or at least P100 million for lot acquisition, site development and other projects related to its socialized housing program.

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TAGS: alternative dwelling, barangay Carreta, barangay Tejero, barangay Tinago, barangay tinago chairman, Carreta, Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu City City Mayor Michael Rama, Cebu City hall, Cebu City Hall department, clearing operations, Councilor Nestor Archival Sr., Joel Garganera, Lahug River, Mayor Mike Rama, Mayor Rama, Mike Rama, Nestor Archival, Rama, river dwellers, Tejero, Tinago

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