DAVAO CITY, Phililpines – Typhoon Pablo survivors are fearing they will be evicted from their homes in a housing project intended for survivors in San Antonio Village, Maparat, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province.
In a street press conference Thursday, Vilma Cadiao, chairperson of typhoon Pablo survivors organization Barug Katawhan, said they were threatened to be evicted because their names were not found in the masterlist of the beneficiaries of the housing units.
“The local government told us that we are occupying the houses illegally. We have no choice. We have to avail of the housing program because we have nowhere to go. As typhoon Pablo survivors, we have been suffering for so long,” Cadiao said.
Cadiao is one of the thousands of survivors of the Supertyphoon Pablo which ravaged Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and other provinces in Mindanao on December 2012.
After they were displaced, they waited for the government to provide them houses. Cadiao said they have been renting houses in the town center area despite having difficulty of making ends meet.
Last year on November 5, they held a demonstration to protest what they called “government neglect” and later took over houses built for Typhoon Pablo survivors. The unused houses were bare and did not have electrical and water facilities.
“We cleaned up the place and cut the grasses surrounding the houses which have grown so long,” Cadiao said.
Noli Villanueva, chairman of Compostela Farmers Association said they are worried of the situation of the people living in San Antonio Village due to the threat of eviction.
“The (typhoon) Pablo victims will lose their homes for the second time,” he said.
On March 27, Cadiao said they were told by a government official to vacate the village because they were occupying it “illegally.”
The residents for San Antonio Village were told to draw lots based on the municipality’s masterlist of typhoon survivors, Cadiao said.
Barug Katawhan claimed they were later handed with a notice to vacate.
“We have already passed all the necessary requirements, so why are we not in the list?” Cadiao said.
On March 21, local representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and of the National Housing Authority told the Barug Katawhan that they might face charges of illegal entry if they continue to stay.
Cadiao said they were later invited to attend the municipal council session.
“The vice mayor, councilors, barangay captains sympathized with us and agreed that we should not leave the village,” Cadiao said.
“But our mayor prevented us, even the DSWD and the NHA agencies are against our occupation of the houses,” Cadiao added.
Cristina Lantao, a member of Barug Katawhan said they are holding the press conference here to call for support for the protesting farmers and members of their organization.
“Gapahigayon mi og kampuhan daplin sa highway aron barugan ang katungod namo nga mahatagan og libreng pabalay tungod kay kami mga biktima sa Pablo. Unta tabangan og suportahan mi sa katawhan. (We are holding a camp-out protest along the highway to assert for our rights as typhoon Pablo victims. We hope the people will support our cause),” Lantao said. (davaotoday.com)