DUMAGUETE CITY – The National Housing Authority (NHA) demolished on Tuesday what it considered as illegal structures at the Banilad Plains View Housing Project in Barangay Banilad here after several attempts amid insistence of eight families they are the legal occupants of the lots.
The eight houses demolished were those of Miguel Linaban, Rogelio Linaban, Beatriz Guidon, Magdalena Linaban, Elena Linaban, Medarda Linaban, Dixie Vallejo and Fortunato Linaban.
At the site, siblings Beatriz and Mary Ann Guidon cried foul over the demolition of their houses “without due process”.
They were asking the demolition team from NHA for the writ of demolition coming from the court, because they were advised by their counsel from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to ask for it.
They also claimed they are in possession of documents that will disprove the claims of NHA but failed to present them during the demolition, except for a copy of the petition before the Department of Agrarian Reform for a revocation of the land conversion from agricultural to residential.
NHA Region 7 corporate lawyer Manuel Zosimo Ozoa said he believes they have complied with provisions of Memo Circular No. 2506 or the updated standard operating procedures governing summary eviction of illegal occupants and dismantling of structures in NHA-owned or administered properties.
The same emanates from the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1472 which states that NHA shall have the power to summarily eject, without the necessity of judicial order, any and all squatters’ colonies or government resettlement projects, as well as any illegal occupant in any home lot, apartment or dwelling owned or administered by it.
Ozoa said the process took more than one month with meetings by the Project Inter-Agency Committee (PIAC) headed by Hermes Jude Juntilo which the eight families, however, had refused to attend.
Three notices and demand letters were sent earlier to the families and which were posted at the site for them to voluntarily vacate and demolish the structures built on the premises of the lot, which the respondents failed to heed.
Demolition schedule was from July 24 to 31, 2019 to comply with the reglementary period under MC 2506.
The Banilad Plains View Housing Project in Barangay Banilad was conceptualized to respond to the need for housing of families affected and left homeless by the onslaught of typhoons Sendong and Pablo in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and those situated within the 20-meter easement of river banks and danger areas of the city of Dumaguete.
The NHA acquired the 37,192-square meter lot from the Tale family in Banilad and already titled it in the name of NHA.
Ozoa disclosed the NHA has an approved land conversion to pave the way for the construction of housing units for typhoon victims.
He said during negotiations, the eight families were given first priority to be beneficiaries of the NHA housing site but they preferred to question the acquisition of the lot that caused delays in the implementation of the project.
Once the project is turned over to the city, Ozoa believes it will now be up to the city to decide whether these families will be given units in the NHA housing site in Banilad or they would have to undergo the same process like the others in applying for a housing unit.
Tasked to construct the housing units is the local government unit of Dumaguete with funding from the NHA.
The Linabans said they will bring the matter before the Ombudsman and the President. (PNA)