By Montesa Griňo-Caoyonan
The 119 illegal structures alongside the abandoned Rotary Park in Brgy. Concepcion, Iloilo City will be demolished next month by the Task Force Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures to give way to the proposed Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal Service (GIFTS) project.
Engr. Robert Dumanil, head of Task Force Asis, said many of the dwellers are occupying the area only for livelihood purposes but they are not homeless.
He said they have been occupying a wide portion of the park, which is a government-owned lot – 95 structures are located inside the park while 24 outside.
Dumanil said these illegal structures are mostly in form of kiosks serving as sari-sari store, boarding house, repair shop, and other similar structures.
The illegal occupants are not only from Iloilo City as others are also from Guimaras province, he said.
Dumanil said they have been receiving reports that these illegal occupants are renting the place through the son of a village chief, however, he is not sure if their informants are referring to the son of Brgy. Captain Leah Severina Berciles.
He said they will notify the dwellers about the scheduled demolition and ask them to vacate the area within seven days. After the notification, they will issue a final and executory order to the illegal occupants even without a court order.
“They know already that it’s a public place and a government-owned lot so it’s not our obligation to look for their relocation site,” he said.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said he is still waiting for President Benigno Aquino III to sign the presidential proclamation that will declare an area at Fort San Pedro as the site of the ferry terminal project that will cater to pump boat passengers plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route.
Mabilog said the proclamation will cover almost a hectare of land, including the lot currently occupied by the Philippine Coast Guard Iloilo District Office that plans to renovate their building once the illegal structures are removed.
Aside from the national government, the Asian Development Bank, German International Cooperation, and Cities Development Initiatives for Asia are also expected to fund the project.
MORE DEMOLITIONS SET
Aside from the 119 illegal structures along Rotary Park, the Task Force Asis and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are also set to demolish 280 illegal structures for road clearing along Diversion Road in Mandurriao district.
Dumanil said they are waiting for a go-signal from the DPWH for the demolition to proceed.
These illegal structures are mostly gutters, cemented gates, signages, tarpaulins, and posts that have been identified as obstructions to access roads.