Maco folks decry demolition of structures along natl highway

sept 2-9, 2010

At least 300 families residing along the 5-kilometer highway section in the poblacion of Maco town in Compostela Valley are protesting over the demolition of their structures as the Department of Public Works and Highways district office started demolishing some ten structures on Wednesday.

They said that the demolition has the hand of reelected Mayor Voltaire Rimando whom they alleged to have a political score to settle with them for having been defeated in the poblacion in the last polls.

Rimando could not be contacted at press time.

Tensions engulfed in Maco town Wednesday afternoon when unidentified crew belonging to DPWH district office suddenly swooped down and started forcibly demolishing northside houses and other structures which the crew said to have encroached in the 30-meter length of road right of way (RROW) from the centerline of the Tagum-Maco highway.

The DPWH is reportedly carrying the demolition of structures for its road widening project.

But Tessie Alo, an affected resident, said that the DPWH should have given them “more time” to prepare and voluntarily demolish any obstructing structures, and that it should have given them the written plan and approved budget for the project.

It was learned though that the DPWH has already sent them three notices to demolish with the last informing them that demolition would be carried last August 31.

“Human sa demolition, may budget ba sila ana or basi pabayaan lang nila nga nakatiwangwang ang yuta,” said Carmen Chiong in an interview.

She added she would agree with the demolition so long as “the areas subject to demolition are equal and the demolition is fairly implemented without favor”.

Affected residents said that Mayor Rimando and the municipal budget officer Milagros Cabonita have also housing structures located at the southside side of the highway in Barangay Cabinuangan which are reportedly within the 30-meter RROW.

They said that even the Maco police station, barangay hall and waiting sheds constructed by the municipal government are not spared of the demolition if the basis is the 30-meter RROW in boht sides from the centerline of the highway.

“If the DPWH has no budget yet for its road widening project, then we ask them not to proceed with the total demolition,” Cabonita said.

Affected residents also wondered why the demolition started from the center at Purok Mauswagon, a known opposition village northside of the highway, and not any of the end of the 5-kilometer stretch from Hijo bridge in the east to the Barangay Anislagan in the west.

At press time, the affected residents, about 30 of them on initial count, have grouped themselves and are girding to secure temporary restraining order through their lawyer. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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