Displaced Irisan Settlers Seek Relief

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY – Cypress Irisan settlers displaced by the demolition implemented by the city government here last November 30 are asking for humanitarian assistance.

In an interview, Villanueva Patting, secretary of Irisan Peoples Action against Demolition and for Good Governance (IPADeGG), said the city government should at least give immediate assistance to those affected by the demolition. Some 14 families have temporarily sought shelter among their relatives.

Patting said that for humanitarian reasons, the city government should help relocate these affected families. This is urgent, he said, because where would the families live?
Aside from the requested assistance the group asked for an in-depth investigation on the land case. Patting said the titles presented by the Asia Pine Hills Development Corporation are “fraudulent.”

He asked the office of the solicitor general to release the results of their investigation into the matter. “We are willing to pay to the rightful owner of the land at a reasonable price,” Patting explained, adding that they should also be allowed some leeway in paying for the land, as they are poor.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the demolition order is legal. “There is no more legal barrier to implementing the demolition,” the mayor said. The status quo had already been lifted by the court.

Mayor Domogan said the land in Cypress is titled and the negotiations between the owner and the occupants had not prospered, so they pushed through with the demolition.

He added that the three associations in Cypress have entered into the community mortgage program of the government. However, they reasoned that they stopped paying because the title of Asia Pine is bogus.

It will be recalled that the original owners of the 18 hectares of land in Cypress were the Pucay sisters who sold the land to Cypress. Cypress then subdivided the land and sold it to different buyers. Some 3.6 hectares had not been sold but mortgaged to the GSIS. Cypress was not able to redeem the land. Instead, Asia Pine paid for the loan and redeemed it from the GSIS. In 2003, a massive demolition was implemented in Cypress.

Under the administration of former Mayor Bautista, the demolition order to Cypress was put on hold because of the lobbying of the occupants. But he revived the order before the May 2010 national and local elections. The 1.5 or the ubbog area, Triangle and the Cypress point were the areas subjected to demolition.

On the other hand, Gerry Cacho of Tongtongan ti Umili appealed to the national executive and legislative bodies to intervene in behalf of the affected community. She said that for humanitarian considerations the city government should immediately provide a relocation site. “Where would the displaced families celebrate Christmas? Where are they going to sleep?” Cacho asked.

Moreover, “an investigation into the implementation of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) here must be made because the principle of low-cost housing was defeated. The CMP missed its objective of helping the poor acquire home-lots.”

CMP is a mode of land acquisition defined by Republic Act 7279 commonly known as the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA). It was intended to help under-privileged and homeless citizens, where the underprivileged are encouraged to organize themselves to be able to acquire land for housing.

Cacho said the Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (ORNUS) believes that the implementation of the CMP is blemished with allegations of corruption because of its provisions for low-cost housing. “CMP is not a low-cost housing program, the prices for lots are not standardized.”

As of now, the IPADeGG has filed a motion for reconsideration in court to stop the continuing demolitions. (Bulatlat.com)

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