Council rejects bid to purchase lots for settlers

Posted on September 27, 2012

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by Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent

AT least  32 households facing demolition in barangay Luz may have to look elsewhere for help  after the Cebu City Council junked a proposal to allow the city government to purchase their lots.

During yesterday’s regular session, the council approved a resolution by Councilor Alvin Dizon not to let the city enter into an agreement with three homeowners associations to purchase their occupied lots.

“It would convey the message that it is acceptable that beneficiaries will be delinquent with their payments since the government can purchase the lots for them. It would destroy the city’s social housing program,” Dizon said.

The proposal covers three homeowners associations in sitios Lubi, Mabuhay and Nagka of barangay Luz, who lost their eviction case  filed against the Capitol, Cebu City Hall and two homeowners associations.

“I’m happy to hear the voice of members who religiously pay their amortization,” said Councilor Nida Cabrera,  former barangay captain of barangay Luz.

Cabrera,  the president of a homeowners association that contested the proposal by the Local Housing Board, said if Mayor Michael Rama wants to help the 32 families he should do so “out of his own pocket.”

Cabrera said the unpaid penalties of the 32 families reached  more than P4 million ever since the other Luz settlers availed of the government’s Community Mortgage Program (CMP) in 1995.

“The penalties have been compounded on  us. There are some lots which were not paid yet,” the councilor said.

Cabrera said she didn’t try to influence fellow councilors and will abide by their decision on the issue.

Cabrera said if the 32 households remain in their area, it’s hard for them to live in peace.

“Pride is inevitable because there’s already a gap between us,” she said in Cebuano.

Cabrera said the settlers “should accept that they were wrong in filing a case against us.”

In refusing to join the other Luz settlers, the 32 families said the conditions of the community housing program were “onerous.”

They said they were  bona fide occupants of the province-owned lot in barangay Luz, Cebu City having been relocated to barangay Luz  by the government in 1956.

On Dec. 3, 1990, the Provincial Board and then Cebu Gov. Emilio Osmeña approved a resolution authorizing the governor to sell the lots as appraised to the actual occupants on the province-owned lot.

They said unknown to them, the province entered into an agreement with the Cebu City government, which introduced a Community Mortgage Program in the province-owned lots.

The program paved the way for urban poor residents to acquire their homes through a 25-year amortization plan and allowed the city government to organize them into homeowners associations.

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