1-YEAR MORATORIUM ON CEBU DEMOLITIONS

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CEBU CITY: The Cebu City Council has approved another ordinance imposing a one-year moratorium on all clearing operations by the city government.

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The first ordinance seeking a moratorium on city government-initiated demolitions was vetoed by Mayor Michael Rama.

Rama is now serving a 60-day preventive suspension imposed by the Office of the President in relation to a case on the demolition of a barangay-initiated center island project.

Rama said he vetoed the ordinance because it contradicted some national laws like the Water Code of the Philippines, which requires that riverbanks and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within its three-meter easement zone must be free of any structures.

Rama said it is also an ultra vires act or beyond the council’s power to enact.

But the proposed measure was re-filed because of clamor from the urban poor sector.

Under the amended approved ordinance, only those settlers who are living in danger areas duly-registered by the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) will be covered by the moratorium.

Records from DWUP showed that there are more than 10,000 residents who are still living in danger zones.

Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon, principal author of the ordinance, said the moratorium will cover danger areas, such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines and waterways.

It will also apply to public places, such as sidewalks, roads, parks, public cemeteries, playgrounds and areas where government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented.

But the city can still carry out clearing operations in areas mentioned if there is imminent danger on the lives of the residents, provided that a temporary or permanent relocation will be given to them.

The ordinance will not be applicable in court-ordered demolitions.

Dizon said the ordinance will give the city time to comply with all the requirements set under Republic Act No. 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act before a demolition can be implemented.

One of the requirements is to provide a relocation site for the families that will be affected.

PNA

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