Mayor opposes relocation

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MAYOR Ricardo Ramirez of Medellin, Cebu yesterday said he will strongly oppose any move by the Cebu Provincial Government to relocate Gibitngil residents to the neighboring Barangay Kawit under the guise that they are in a “danger zone” because their livelihood would be disturbed.

Ramirez said Gibitngil is an existing barangay with a hall, health center and its own basketball court.

“The residents have solar power in their houses and I doubt if they would be amenable to relocating. You are talking here of more than 500 families living there and if they are relocated to Kawit, it would strain the resources of Barangay Kawit,” Ramirez said.



The Ancajas family, through the Jose Ancajas Agricultural Corp. represented by Aurora Ancajas Ramos, signed a deed of donation with Gov. Hilario Davide III and witnessed by Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, for more than three hectares of land in Kawit intended for relocation of the residents of Gibitngil, now considered a danger zone.

But Ramirez said Gibitngil is not a danger zone.

Ramirez made the statement when sought to comment on Davide’s decision to turn over the disposal of the land to the Kawit barangay captain and not to Ramirez based on the recommendation of Baltazar Tribunalo, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (PDRRMO).

The mayor recalled that the entire Gibitngil Island is owned by the Ancajas family, but was placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which is under appeal.

He said as early as 1980’s, when there were still few families in Gibitngil Island, the Ancajas family wanted to relocate all the residents because a big investor wanted to buy the entire island for tourism and commercial purposes.

Ramirez said he is not certain of case’s status.

“But one thing I am sure is that the left-leaning groups who are among the residents will have a field day in opposing the relocation,” Ramirez said.

No guesses

Ramirez said he doesn’t want to guess if there is an unholy alliance between Capitol officials through Tribunalo and the Ancajas family to drive away the poor Gibitngil residents so a big investor could buy the entire island in the guise of protecting them away from possible storm surge.

“But let me just say that I told Tribunalo about my apprehensions when we met more than a month ago and I thought that he had considered it.

And I never imagined that they would give it a serious thought considering that if you look at the topography of Gibitngil, it has a high elevation and majority of the residents are not in danger of a storm surge,” Ramirez said.

The mayor said it is not good to use the storm surge experience in Tacloban Cityduring typhoon Yolanda as a reason to relocate Gibitngil residents to the benefit of the Ancajas family and dislocate the people of an entire barangay.

He said that, at a glance, the words “deed of donation” symbolized good deeds. But in the Ancajas case, a personal agenda for personal gain is behind it, he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 07, 2014.

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