Tefasco squatters seek relocation
In a funny twist, nine recalcitrant squatters who refused to move out of a danger zone in a foreshore area in Barangay Ilang, Bunawan in Davao City —and filed a case in court against City Hall to stop a demolition order—are now begging that they be allowed to avail of free relocation offered under the city’s socialized housing program.
This developed as Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reportedly ordered the immediate demolition of the squatter shanties between the Tefasco and Unifrutti wharves at the mouth of Awad Creek, as soon as the Regional Trial Court—where the nine squatters sought a temporary restraining order—drops the charge.
Mayor Duterte himself had shown interest in the plight of the squatters numbering 150, who accepted the government relocation offer except the nine. The mayor with City Legal Officer Melchor Quitain in tow flew by helicopter over the area two weeks ago to get a feel of the situation. In a subsequent meeting with the squatters, Duterte told the illegal settlers that they must move out of the danger zone.
The nine squatters reportedly refused to move out as they run videoke houses, bars, money lending and dollar changing operations, boarding houses and others catering mostly to foreign seamen of vessels calling at the Tefasco and Unifrutti wharves to load export Cavendish bananas.
The squatters’ houses had already been recommended for demolition by the Committee on Squatters Syndicates and Professional Squatters (CASSP) and the Local Housing Board, but the order by the City Engineers Office had been stalled by
Councilor Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, who initiated the relocation with the City Housing Office and Tefasco which donated a one-hectare free relocation site, said he would not know if the city government would agree to granting relocation lots to the nine recalcitrant squatters. He said they owned real estate elsewhere and are only in Ilang for their business and expressed doubts they would qualify under the urban land reform program which is only for indigent homeless poor families.