DAVAO CITY INVESTORS TOLD TO HELP RELOCATE INFORMAL SETTLERS
Lawyers, court warned against demolition without relocation
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has warned the court and lawyers of land properties against demolition of urban poor without relocation for the displaced families. Unless you are inviting a bloodbath, you should go to the process before demolition, he said at the Ato ni Bay television program on SkyCable hosted by broadcast journalist Leo Villareal. He said to avoid people being displaced, investors should add up funds on corporate social responsibility (CSR) on their investments to buy resettlement areas for the displaced. Unless you are ready to go into a bloodbath, you should provide relocation, he said. The no demolition without relocation is mandated by the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) and the Davao City Comprehensive Shelter program authored by councilorArnolfo Cabling. Mayor Sara Duterte figured in a controversy last year after she punched a court sheriff supervising a court-ordered demolition of urban poor shanties in Agdao district. The act, widely played up in national and television news media, earned for her charges at the Ombudsman, interior department and the Supreme Court.
The vice mayor’s warning was in reiteration of the his earlier statement that investors should share in helping resolve dislocation of informal settlers who shall be evicted from land where their businesses are to be located. I am asking the investors to provide a budget in their investment plan for relocation of the informal settlers. Many businesses here are put on hold due to illegal occupants on their proposed factory or plant site or subdivision projects. Relocating the informal settlers–ordered evicted by the court—takes a heavy toll on local finances—even as the local government has resettlement areas for displaced urban poor. Duterte said investors could assist the city government in confronting the problem of providing relocation sites for the illegal settlers by adding funds in their investment plan for the purpose. Davao City has an active Urban Land Reform Program that provides relocation sites for displaced informal settlers who are resettled in new homesites on city-owned land at the outskirts of the city proper. Duterte’s advice came as investors—mostly in property development and housing projects—gobble up lands for multi-million investments. The projects suffer a bitch when the proposed project sites are occupied by informal settlers that needed to be relocated. ROGER M. BALANZA