Mabolo folks back demolition on Mahiga creek

01/31/2011 - DESPITE the inconvenience it wrought on him and his constituents, Mabolo barangay captain Reynaldo Ompoc found something to be thankful for in last week's heavy rains.

He said if last Tuesday's flooding didn't occur Cebu City officials wouldn't have cracked down on the rising number of settlers occupying the riverbanks of the Mahiga Creek.

Part of the creek located in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City narrowed down to four meters wide, down from 14 meters.

Ompoc blamed this on the growing number of settlers who chose to stay in the area because they have no place to go.

Ompoc said these settlers used gravel to build their homes, desilting the riverbanks.

What's worse, he said, is that most of them came from Mandaue City with only 300 from barangay Mabolo.

The Mandaue settlers came from the other part of the Mahiga creek after their homes were demolished by the Mandaue City government four months ago.

Ompoc said they have been asking the Cebu City government to do something about the settlers along the river to no avail.

“This serves as a warning to them (city government). They would only take action after they are affected. If the rains came in the evening, a lot of people may have perished,” said Ompoc.

Ompoc said some of the settlers could be relocated to sitios with basketball courts and in higher land.

He would also lend them tents to augment the 10 container vans given by the city government.

More importantly, Ompoc said it's high time the city government clean up and dredge the river to avoid overflowing.

Councilor Alvin Dizon earlier said residents in high-risk areas will be relocated and given adequate assistance.

He said P10 million will be spent for displaced residents.

At least 1,000 houses in Mahiga Creek will be demolished by Cebu City's Squatters Prevention Encroachment and Elimination Division (SPEED).

About 3,000 residents in sitios Lahing-lahing, San Isidro, San Vicente, Holy Name, Sindulan, New Frontier, Magtalisay and Camansi will be relocated.

Dizon said permanent relocation sites will be provided to qualified beneficiaries.

Settlers who came from the province will be given fares or given free transportation by the city government for their trip back home.

Gerry Carillo, Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council (CCDC) consultant, said displaced families will be given P3,000 to P5,000 aid for their troubles.

Dizon asked those to be displaced to leave their areas and carry with them whatever materials remain from the demolition.

Councilor Roberto Cabbarubias also proposed to have floodgates built at the exits of creeks and rivers to prevent overflowing of water.(Cebu Daily News)

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