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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, July 12, 2018
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‘Danger zone’ demolition on
BY SHIELA G. GELERA

 

The Bacolod City Legal Office-Enforcement Team started the demolition of 25 houses along the riverbank beside the Lupit Bridge, near the San Antonio Abad Church, at the boundary of barangays Singcang-Airport and 40 in Bacolod City, yesterday.

The demolition led to a verbal tussle between the more than a hundred residents and the demolition team that swooped down on the area and started destroying the houses.

There was no physical violence during the first phase of the demolition as the police and a fire truck from the Bureau of Fire Protection were on standby at the area.

Some residents watched as their houses were being destroyed, some chose to collect their belongings, while others cried and asked the demolition team to stops their operations.

Teresita Trio, 61, said they do not know where they will stay when night comes as they have not been assigned a lot yet at the relocation site at Arao, Barangay Vista Alegre in Bacolod.

Trio said the contractor gave them P1,000 for them to facilitate their papers for their relocation, but they had not finished ituntil yesterday, when their houses were demolished.

A sign in the area announced that the widening of the Lupit Bridge was supposed to start on March 13 and be completed by Nov. 7, 2018 with a contract cost of P15,353,784.42, under a joint venture of Humming Bird Construction and Supply and Wilkinson Construction.

The demolition was temporarily halted whenit began to drizzle and the CLO Enforcement Team had their lunch break. It resumed after lunchtime.

Ephraem Hechanova, officer-in-charge of the City Engineer’s Office, said the residents had been informed that they should vacate the place since 2015 because they are living in a danger zone under the bridge and beside the riverbank.

The widening of the bridge project had been delayed for four months already because the residents had not vacated the area, he added.

Hechanova said the residents were given a relocation site at Arao, Abada Escay in Vista Alegre but only three out of 25 families had processed their requirements.

Berlita Ante, KADAMAY-Negros secretary general, asked Bacolod City officials where the people affected by the demolition will go for shelter.

“The residents in the area wrote a letter to Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, asking for adequate time to prepare their relocation site, and for the block and lot number assigned to them at the site to be already identified,” Ante said.

She said the livelihood of most of the residents are making lumpia wrappers and the people at the Arao relocation could complain against them for causing too much smoke.

“Kadamay is condemning the act and is one with the sorrow of the people here,” Ante said, adding, “We are appealing to the local officials especially to Mayor Bing (Leonardia), to give attention to how they are going to help the residents, before destroying their houses.”*SGG

 

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