Authorities demolished yesterday 15 houses of informal settlers inside the Davao City-UP Mindanao Sports Complex in Bago Oshiro, Tugbok District.
The owners of the 15 households refused to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures, the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin) said in a statement to TIMES.
But only one settler, an 80-year-old woman, resisted the demolition, police said.
The “illegal structures” are within the 20-hectare property allotted for the P8 billion Davao City-UP Sports Complex.
The demolition team of the City Engineer’s Office flattened the houses starting at 8 a.m. yesterday to pave way for the implementation of the government infrastructure project.
The city’s Local Housing Board issued the certificate of Compliance on Regular and Summary Demolition No. 3 last Jan. 15.
A joint task force, composed of members from the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), 3rd Infantry Battalion, Central 911 and Bureau of Fire and Protection, provided security and assistance.
In an interview with reporters at the area, DCPO Director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum said the demolition was “peaceful and orderly.”
She said an 80-year-old woman resisted to open, much more to demolish, her house due to sentimental value.
“And so we are forced to get (her out),” Tagum said. “The Central 911 and CSSDO (City Social Services Development Office) rescued the woman.” She was brought to the barangay health center in Tugbok.
While citing that they were only implementing a lawful order, Tagum said she pitied the woman who became hysterical upon seeing her house being demolished.
The informal settlers were living in the area for more than 20 years.
“(But) they know that they don’t have any legal paper to support ownership,” Tagum said.
The DCPO director said the presence of the informal settlers in the area hampered the development of the ongoing construction inside the campus.
UPMin said out of “21 affected informal settlers, only 15 were summarily evicted due to their refusal to voluntarily demolish their illegal structures and accept the compromise agreement as offered by the implementing agencies.”
UPMin also stated that the illegal settlers were offered financial assistance.
“A series of dialogues and conferences were conducted prior to the conduct of the summary eviction. The informal settlers were also offered financial assistance and temporary relocation areas, among others,” UPMin said.
The statement stated that the eviction of the settlers “was implemented in strict compliance with the substantive and procedural due process as set forth by the aforementioned law.”
“In coordination with the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP), City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and Philippine National Police (PNP), among others,” the statement added.
“This was implemented pursuant to Republic Act No. 7279 or the Act to Provide for a Comprehensive and Continuing Urban Development and Housing Program, Establish the Mechanism for its Implementation, and for Other Purposes,” it added.
Himati, UPMin’s official student publication, said the “DPWH offered financial assistance but the settlers must sign an affidavit first which waives any of their future claims against UP, foregoing claims against the land.”
However, DPWH 11 public affairs and information officer Dean Ortiz said they were hands off the demolition because the local government enacted it.
The city will host the Palarong Pambansa next month and the event will be held at the sports complex. (Rhoda Grace B. Saron and Julianne A. Suarez)