Stop buying uninhabitable lots, City told

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

THE Cebu City Council wants to prevent any more purchase of uninhabitable lots for informal settlers by approving an ordinance setting the guidelines for their acquisition.

Proponent Councilor Alvin Dizon quoted a report from the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) that over 100 uninhabitable lots were purchased in the 1990s and were left undeveloped.

Informal settlers that have been affected by clearing operations and demolitions don’t want to relocate to these areas because they are not viable for settlement.


The ordinance is called “Establishing Guidelines for the Acquisition, Valuation and Disposition of Lands in Cebu City for Socialized Housing and for Other Purposes.”


“There are more than 100 unlivable lots in the City’s seven underdeveloped relocation sites due to steep slopes and high cost of site development.

Since these lots are not suitable for human habitation, most of the intended beneficiaries have yet to live in these lots,” Dizon’s resolution read.

In 1999, the City created the ad hoc committee on land valuation for socialized housing, but Dizon said that according to records, the committee has not been operational in 10 years and has only convened three times.

Rapid urbanization means there will be a need for more housing, particularly socialized housing for the City’s urban poor.

Dizon said this is also in consonance with the direction of the executive department to clear the three-meter easement of all rivers under the jurisdiction of the Cebu City Government.


Hundreds of informal settlers live within the three-meter easement.

Incidentally, Mayor Michael Rama has also directed Land Management Council (LMC) presiding officer Janeses Ponce to conduct an inventory of all properties of the Cebu City Government.

“Look at the other properties of the City. Where are they now? Conduct research, make an intellectual analysis, study the law,” Rama told Ponce, also a lawyer.


These relocation sites would be included in the inventory as well as those Cebu City lots identified as cemeteries.

One such property is the Lorega Cemetery, where a medium-rise building was erected for the City’s urban poor in coordination with Gawad Kalinga.

According to the newly approved ordinance, the City should prioritize the acquisition of lands that are owned by the Government through any of its agencies or through other local government units; public and private lands and privately owned idle lots.

Acquisition modes include donation from the government entity, land swapping, community mortgage, joint venture, among others.


Section 6.4 of the ordinance also states that all lots to be purchased by the City Government should have certificates of titles as recorded in the Registry of Deeds.

To ensure that no uninhabitable lot will be purchased, the ordinance identified requirements to be complied with before the City buys any property.

One such requirement is for DWUP to conduct a site evaluation and appraisal report.

The proposed purchase should also go through the Local Housing Board and City Legal Office.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 16, 2014.

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