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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 26, 2016
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Himamaylan politics heats up

While the campaign period for local candidates will kick off on March 25, politics has already started to heat up in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.

This time, the issue focuses on the demolition of houses and the issuance of lot forfeiture notices by the city government to some occupants at the Antolo and Vita squatter relocation sites in Brgy. Suay, Himamaylan City.

Complainant Luna Aguillon claimed yesterday that her house was demolished on Wednesday by representatives of the Office of the City Engineers, who were accompanied by the police and city rescue team members, allegedly for not occupying it, and failure to improve it.

Aguillon, who shifted her support from the family of Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon to mayoral candidate Cherry Hope Maravilla- Belarga, who is the Suay barangay chairwoman, added that the house of Felizardo Tuazon was also demolished.

She also debunked claims that they are not occupying their house, and said her family has been occupying the lot since 2007, and that the demolition of her house was politically-motivated.

Maricel Divinagracia, sister of Aguilon, said the 80-square meter lot they had occupied at Vita Relocation site was also recalled by the city government in 2013.

Belarga said she was not informed of the demolition of houses in her barangay, nor had legal documents been presented to her to justify the demolition.

Bascon said they had been given enough time since 2009, to vacate the lots provided to them, as they failed to comply with the terms and conditions they had signed.

Many families living in Himamaylan squatter areas also want to avail of lots at the relocation sites, that has already benefitted more than 500 families, as of this time, he added.

Indigent families are occupying the government relocation sites free of charge, Bascon said.

“Everything was done with due process”, he said, and added that it was covered by a court order.

Bascon claimed that they got no reply from the lot occupants, who had violated the terms and conditions, despite several notices sent to them.

Aguillon said she only received three notices from the Office of the Building Office of Himamaylan City since March 2014, and the final notice was sent on Jan. 11 this year.

On Jan 27, Aguillon said she was requested to personally demolish her house, within one week, that ended on Feb. 5.

Barangay residents claimed that the city government has already issued forfeiture notices to 15 lot occupants of two relocation sites in Suay, Himamaylan City.

But Bascon dismissed the claims of ejected lot occupants and Belarga as “politically-motivated.”*GPB




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