Madapo Residents in Limbo Despite Duterte Help

Jul. 14, 2006

Madapo residents complain. ( photo by Barry Ohaylan)
By Aileen A. Cainglet and Jenifer Libres

DAVAO CITY — They thought they could finally heave a sigh of relief when they transferred to the riverside upon receiving an earlier notice to vacate their homes.

After all, it was no less than City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who gave residents of Lower Madapo Hills the assurance that they could stay there after being driven out of their homes, Elen Bariquit, president of Madapo Riverside Settlers Association said in an interview

But the 122 families occupying a portion of the land in Madapo Hills found out later that their ordeal was far from over. The place where they had transferred to is owned by the same person, a certain Dr. Tongson, who had evicted them, they learned later.

“These 122 families here have been allowed by Mayor Duterte to transfer by the riverside. But Tongson has claimed that his property starts from the middle of the river, Bariquit explained.

The Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), the organization with whom the Madapo settler’s association is affiliated with, contested Tongson’s land title.

Kadapay spokesperson Alfred Depala said they learned that Tongson had acquired the land title only in 2003.

But Cesar Dataya, officer-in-charge of the Housing and Homesite Division of the city, said Tongson’s land title is authentic, otherwise the Court of Justice would not have approved the order of demolition. Dataya disclosed that they are bound to execute a demolition this August 3.

Depala, however, insisted that the government must provide the Madapo Hills residents a relocation site. But Dataya said only three of the residents are qualified under the government’s relocation program. He based this on the survey conducted by the City Planning and Development Office. Besides, he said, most of the residents were just renting their houses, so they cannot be relocated.

Dataya said they could not possibly accommodate the demands of the Madapo residents since the current relocation site in Los Amigos is not exclusively for them. There are still 15,000 families from different parts in the city awaiting relocation, he said. (Aileen A. Cainglet and Jenifer Libres/

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