Diversion Road squatters: City Hall acts to stay ejection [PNA]

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 18 Apr 1998 10:10:05 -0700 (PDT)


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Date:         Thu, 2 Oct 1997 16:30:50 -0100
Reply-To:     null@LISTS.BRIFIL.ORG.UK
Sender:       Phil News Agency <pna@psdn.org.ph>
From:         "Philippines News Agency (by way of Wayne Johns
              <wjohn@brifil.org.uk>)" <philnews@mozcom.com>
Subject:      pn: City Hall acts to stay ejection of Diversion Road squatters
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

     ILOILO CITY, Oct . 2 (PNA) - Both the executive and legislative
branches of the city government are working to delay the ejection of
some 435 families squatting in government-owned lands along the
Diversion Road here.

     Mayor Mansueto A. Malabor disclosed yesterday that he has already
made representations with the Department of Public Works and Highways
(DPWH)  to allow the affected families to  remain temporarily where they
are until a relocation site is found by the city or until the DPWH uses
the land for a proposed road-widening project, whichever comes first.

     Malabor, who blamed rich businessmen critical of his administration
as behind the ejectment proceedings, said the squatters needed to be
helped and he, as mayor, must look after their interests and welfare.

     On the other hand, the committee on urban poor chaired by Councilor
Joshua Alim is working towards achieving the same end.

     In a committee hearing conducted Monday morning, Alim, a lawyer,
assured some 30 representatives that he will ask the city prosecutor's
office for more time to prepare a counter affidavit in response to a
criminal complaint for illegal structures filed against 31
squatter-families by the DPWH.

     The families, mostly residents  of Barangays Dungon and Cuartero,
were originally given until October 3 to submit their
counter-affidavits.

     With Alim during the hearing were Vice-Mayor Guillermo de la Llana,
Councilor Jerry Trenas, DPWH representative Mateo Quintilla and Iloilo
Business Club president Reynaldo Gustilo.

     Despite the assurances of the committee, however, Gustilo stood
firm in his desire to rid the area starting from Barangay El 98 to the
foot of the Diversion Bridge of illegal structures and squatters,
especially those earlier classified by Malabor as operating under the
city government's livelihood program.

     The IBC, which has earlier complained to the DPWH about the
structures sprouting in the aforesaid vicinity, will insist on the
removal of these structures, Gustilo said.

     The DPWH served squatter-families living along the Diversion Road
from Barangay Sambag to the foot of the Diversion Bridge with notices to
vacate in preparation for a proposed giant road widening project.

     The road-widening proposal, however, appears in conflict with a
streetlight project being implemented by the Department of Tourism in
the same area.

     Quintilla himself admitted there are no funds yet for the proposed
widening and that the project is not expected to be implemented right
away, a revelation that somehow lifted the spirits of the squatters
attending  the hearing.

     Alim said the committee will communicate  with DPWH secretary
Gregorio Vigilar regarding the situation, even as De la Llana declared
the legislative body will sit down with executive representatives to
discuss the problem. (PNA) BFM/wpt/NAG/ AEE/

PNA 10020837

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