Apas demolition pushes through
CEBU, Philippines — Six houses that sit on the disputed lot in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas, Cebu City were demolished yesterday.
But more houses will be torn down today and in the next nine days, said sheriff Edilberto Suarin of Branch 6 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Cebu City.
There are at least 50 structures on lot 947 subject for demolition.
Though the residents were against the demolition, Suarin said, there was no resistance or commotion.
To maintain peace and order, 64 members of the Philippine National Police accompanied the 66 members of the demolition team.
The affected families were offered a relocation site in the mountain barangay of Agsungot.
But the relocation site did not sit well with the residents, citing lack of accessibility, electricity and water.
Barangay Captain Virgil ‘Jing-Jing’ Cabigon said the barangay can provide the affected families temporary shelter.
“They are welcome to take temporary shelter in the barangay hall,” said Cabigon.
He also said the barangay will provide a vehicle for those in need of transportation assistance.
The demolition in lot 947 is the continuation of the clearing operations in lot 942 in the same sitio.
On July 10, 38 houses on lot 942 were demolished. A total of 198 structures were built on the said lot.
The 160 houses were demolished in 2014 following the issuance of a court order. The owners of the 38 structures, however, appealed their case before the court, resulting in the delay of demolition.
But the court ruled in favor of the lot claimant, Aletha Suico-Magat, in 2018. A notice of demolition was issued to the house owners in January 2019.
Lots 942 and 947, which are 9,753 square meters and 7,411 square meters,respectively, were part of the friar lands in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and were later on purchased by the provincial government through an executive order.
The lots were also expropriated by the Lahug Airport Authority before to form part of the Lahug Airport but it did not push through.
The lots were supposedly occupied by the settlers even before it was expropriated for the airport as early as 1976.
But later on, Suico-Magat and her siblings claimed ownership of the two lots as an inheritance from their late father.
In 1957, the family filed a petition in court for the lost title and the court approved it since there was no opposition.
The residents still believe the provincial government is the real owner of the two lots. —Jebert A. Sarsonas, CNU Intern/KBQ (FREEMAN)