Revived 30-year old demolition order surprises Lizada settlers

Dec. 03, 2013

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – Some 134 houses and 300 families residing for decades in a public area in Lizada Street were surprised to find a demolition order on their community, which was based on a revived 30-year old court decision.

The Quezon Boulevard Homeowners Association – Kalipunan sa Damayang Mahihirap (QBHA-KADAMAY) asserted that they have right to reside in a “public-owned land” where their parents have settled for three to four decades.

The group’s spokesperson, Lydio Labuen, said they were given a notice of the writ of eviction dated October 18, based on a decision by Regional Trial Court branch 14 Judge George Omelio dated October 3.

The decision said the court acted on “an action to revive judgment filed by winning” petitioners Tomas Santiago Cocksing and Tomric Realty Corporation, which is now known as RVS Realty Corporation, which is based in Monteverde Street, Davao City.

The judge’s decision explained that the demolition was not enforced due to “intervening factors” such as the peace and order situation in the early 1980s, the intervention of the city mayor and “the request of some defendants to be paid by plaintiff Cocksing of a certain amount.”

But Labuen questioned the 30-year old decision, saying the 14 defendants listed in the decision were either dead or had already left the community.

Ang  nasa listahan, tua na sa mga public nga sementeryo, adtuon na nila. Ang uban namalhin na. (Those defendants in the lists are already in public cemeteries; let the [petitoners] find them there. Some have already left here,” he said.

Wilfred Siangoy, a laborer and long-time resident of Lizada for 31 years, said there has been no proof that the company owned the land.

Di mi angay mahadlok, kay wala silay maipakita na katibayan na ilaha ni. Kung kuhaan mi nilag katungod sa panimalay, aha man mi papuy-on ani? (We don’t have to be scared, because they don’t have any proof that this [land] is theirs. If they will displace us, where will they have us relocated?” Siangoy told his neighbors during a press interview Monday right in their community.

Walay magpamatuod na ginapag-iyahan ni sa pribado (no proof that this [land] is privately owned),” he added.

This was not the first time that the Lizada community were threatened to vacate the area. Erlinda Arsadon, who has lived here for 71 years, recalled joining barricades during 1966 to stop the demolition of their houses.

Arsadon said there have been many businessmen who had vied for their land but they held firm that this land is a public land.

“We knew that this is a public land, because places like this before, where water rises is considered public,” she said in vernacular.

Arsadon said they want authorities to look into their plight and to their case.

Ang sentimiento namo ba, daghan karon walay balay, kuhaan na hinoon mi ug balay? Naay notice pero ang gipunting didto na mga tao wala naman. Kinsa man ang pahawaon nila? (Our sentiment is, many people don’t have houses, now they want to remove our houses? There is a notice, but people accused there are gone. Who are they demanding to vacate?),” she asked.

Residents in Lizada will be putting up barricades, even as the demolition order gave them 30 days to vacate the area, they are not taking chances.

Arsadon said even at her age, she will protect what they believe is theirs.

“Since my younger years up to now, I still join to protect our community” she said.

Labuen said they had also consulted a lawyer to appeal the decision.

The urban poor organization Kadamay also showed up for support, as their spokesperson Benjie Badal said this incident ironically happened on the observance of the country’s Urban Poor Solidarity Week announced by the government.

“They have the right to claim the land for the people lived there for a long time, and most specially, their economic needs were there,” Badal said. (Earl O. Condeza,

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