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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Friday, March 7, 2014

IT APPEARS to me that we are suddenly thrust back to a life I thought we have long left behind. But reading yesterday’s front page headline story of Sun.Star Cebu, I admit I was gravely wrong.

The umbrella teaser said: “Amid torn-down houses in Apas.” The main headline followed: “Looters prey on homeless.” Shockingly, in that 4-letter head, I thought we lost a “civilization.” In an instant, what we labored for decades was lost.

For, honestly now, who among the thinking and deeply caring Filipinos would not have taken those who preyed on the homeless and suffering fellow poor beings as depraved beasts in our modern jungle?


Let it not be said that what happened during the demolition of the houses in Apas was not a faceless “inhumanity” to our fellow men, like giving the coup de grace to one already dying.

I am not saying that I am in favor of the way many of our compatriots take to the sort of despicable behavior because of their poverty, such as resisting effort by our authorities to impose order in the way they are living.

There must be a kind of compromise, a meeting ground sort of, between the squatters and the “owners” of the place squatted on. One that would or could result in a happy ending to a truly grim tale. Why can’t we generate a modern fairy tale?

But flippancy aside, having 157 houses demolished is not an easy condition to face, especially at a time when many of those who would be displaced have seen how the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda suffered. Kamo bay magpuyo og tolda, ug maghigda nga magtinamban, lalim ba?

But anything can happen quite unexpectedly in our lives anytime. Indeed, it’s difficult to know what would hit us in advance.

Still, the demolition of some of the houses pushed through despite the appeal of Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman for the sheriff to put it on hold since the court had yet to act on the motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

The houses targeted by the demolition team “belonged to those who received financial assistance from the lot owner, Aletha Suico-Magat, as did the owners of the two other houses earlier demolished.

The progress of the demolition effort, I believe, is tied up with the sense of compassion of the court. Five houses have been undone by the demolition team, and it will go on unless the court issues a TRO to stop it.

The demolition was stopped in the afternoon, though, when it was discovered that looters had infiltrated the demolition group and caught a teenage boy who took some things from the homes that were demolished.

The way things look in the our effort to clean up the “nest” of squatters in some parts of the city is that the matter of compassion and moral values in our people is decidedly at play here.

It is as if the depth of our civilization is measured against a “dog-eats-dog” human circumstance.

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


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