Fearful of Landslides, Davao Folk Storm City Hall

Feb. 22, 2007

DAVAO CITY Residents of Carmen, a village in Baguio District, this city, stormed City Hall this week to press for their longtime demand to be relocated to a safer area due to the threat posed by possible landslides.

Mothers, their small children in tow, trooped to the office of City Administrator Wendel Avisado on Tuesday and expressed their fears about the possible avalanche of loose soil, water and boulder from the mountains.

It has been a year and we havent been heard yet, said a young mother who was cuddling her two-year-old daughter. All we want is to have a place where we can build our houses, sleep peacefully at night, without fear of being buried alive under.

When will they help us? After a tragedy or after some of us are killed because of landslide and flood? she said.

Felipe Relatado, a resident of Carmen for 12 years, said they wanted the government to resettle them immediately. I hope the government will back us up and will actually be there for us before everything will be too late, he said.

Erwin Alfaraque, the assistant city administrator who faced the residents, said City Hall recognized the danger that stalks the villagers of Carmen but the government cannot just expropriate land and give it to the residents as relocation site.

There are laws that should be taken into consideration, Alfaraque said. Of course, we recognized that danger. We know the feeling of the people. We understand their plight but we have to have enough time for this.

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