• Zamboanga probes sale of housing units

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has ordered an investigation into reports that units in the housing project here are being sold by unscrupulous tenants.

    Climaco-Salazar said they are trying to determine how much the tenants were selling or had sold their house, but reports said some were asking as low as P50,000 for single unit in Mariki village, one of many areas affected by rebel attacks in 2013 that left hundreds of casualties in three weeks of street battles.

    One sign posted outside a housing unit reads: “This house for sale” and left a cellphone number below it where prospective buyers can call. But suspicion arises from this because most beneficiaries of the housing project could not even speak and write English.

    “On orders of Mayor Salazar, the Housing and Land Management Division under the Office of the City Mayor will check on allegations that some internally displaced persons—who have returned to permanent houses in Mariki—have sold their units to other individuals,” said Sheila Covarrubias, the mayor’s spokesperson.

    She said selling of awarded housing units is illegal or unlawful under the Code of Policies on “Z3R Beneficiary Selection” and as stipulated under City Ordinance 268 which states that awarded lots and housing units cannot be sold, transferred or disposed of in any manner except by way of hereditary succession.

    Covarrubias said those who illegally sold their house will be disqualified from the Z3R housing program.

    Z3R stands for Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction and was launched following the deadly attacks and destruction left behind by the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF).

    The mayor also included in the probe the permanent housing projects in Tulungatung and Taluksangay villages.

    In Mariki, many of the houses sit on stilts and were handed over to 274 families and 283 units more are to be awarded to the other beneficiaries. Most housing units in Mariki, Tulungatung and Taluksangay have no electricity and potable water system.

    Salazar has repeatedly asked the Zamboanga City Water District and the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative to fast-track the connection of utilities to the areas.

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