The Anti-Squatting Task Force (ASTF) of the city government demolished some 21 structures Thursday along the Palawan State University (PSU) Road in Barangay Tiniguiban to pave the way for a road-widening project.
Alex Hermoso, Anti Squatting Office (ASO) chief, said that the presence of the structures is delaying the road infrastructure project. He said that the City Legal Office (CLO) served a notice-to-vacate to the illegal settlers in November 2019.
The demolition order was first issued during former mayor Edward Hagedorn’s administration and was only carried out recently as the need arose for the road expansion, according to Hermoso.
“Matagal na silang pinagsabihan na umalis jan. The authority came from the city government itself, at kahit may resistance [during the demolition], naging peaceful naman ang operation,” he said.
The illegal settlers were asked to show “proof of ownership” which would have stopped the demolition. However, no one was able to provide the same which resulted in an “overall peaceful operation” only with “slight resistance at first”.
Some tenants who sought anonymity confirmed that they were personally served with “notice-to-vacate” in November last year, which prompted them to look for other places to live in citing that the operation was not a surprise.
“Alam naman naming bawal, pero wala din naman kaming magawa. Sa ngayon, doon muna kami sa bahay ng kamag-anak namin tutuloy,” one tenant said.
The demolition team even helped the illegal tenants to transfer their personal belongings using the trucks provided by the local authorities.
Meanwhile, the road project’s contractor assured the public that the PSU Road expansion will be completed by October 2020.
“Mabilis naman po ang progress nitong ating project. Sa loob ng seven months, kahit more than three months na na-delay, bago matapos ang taon ay matatapos namin ito,” said Eric Capague, city officer of BM Carlos Construction.