Tejero demolition completed despite residents’ objections
CEBU, Philippines — After a few attempts of the authorities, the demolition of more than 80 houses at Sitio Silangan, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City was finally completed yesterday, said Cebu City’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE) Head Raquel Arce.
“There’s no relocation, considering na part lang sa ilang houses ang giguba. They must be grateful na for how many years nigamit sila sa sidewalk,” Arce said.
On the last week of the demolition, PROBE was on a full force to tear down 56 houses completely and 36 houses partially that have encroached the sidewalks along Arellano Street.
The demolition had pushed through despite the lawsuit filed by the homeowners of Sitio Silangan, as well as ambush on one of the PROBE team leaders, Arnulfo Cadungog, last January 24, 2019.
On that day, Arce said the team was ready to resume the demolition of the houses but they moved out since children were reportedly used as human barricade. In the evening, an unidentified assailant ambushed Cadungog.
Arce, in an interview, had said the possible motive behind the shooting was work related since Cadungog was one of the leaders of the demolition team – an allegation the residents have denied.
Earlier, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who shouldered Cadungog’s medical expenses, had said the ambush will not hinder the clearing operations in the area.
A special force from the Cebu City Police Office was requested to aid in the continuation of the demolition yesterday.
The residents of the area also said PROBE should have not proceeded further with the demolition until the court shall have clarified the legal status of the area.
A hearing was set on February 21.
Catalina Pilar, one of the complainants, said they will respect whatever decision the court will give, as long the city would just wait on the outcome of the hearing of the urgent motion they have filed to delay the demolition.
“Ingon anaon lang mi nila sa kasayon? Paphaon lang mi na murag langgam? Mao gyud na among gikasakitan,” she said.
Katherine Gabiso, 17, said her studies are affected because they have nowhere to go after the demolition.
“Ang amo lang gyud unta tagaan mi’g relocation kay pait pud baya ning way balay,” Gabiso said. — Isabella G. Obor, USJ-R Intern, GAN, (FREEMAN)