This project is Phase 1 of the Cebu City South Coastal Urban Development (Scud) which had its groundbreaking on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023.
DWUP head Anthony “Butch” Librando told SunStar Cebu Tuesday that they will begin their negotiations with the owners of private lots covering five hectares affected by the project to find common ground on how much the City will be paying them.
Librando said the City Government has allocated P1.5 billion for the acquisition of the private lots that cover Barangays Kinasang-an Pardo, Basak Pardo, and Basak San Nicolas.
The owners of the properties have already been identified, but Librando said they still have to schedule a dialogue with them right after the lots have been appraised by the City Assessor’s Office.
Should the owners of the land not agree to sell their properties, the City will be forced to use the eminent domain power and have the lots expropriated, he said.
Librando added that Mayor Michael Rama has given a directive that Phase 1 of the project should be completed within this year.
The Scud is a joint project of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and the City Government wherein the former will be constructing 20 high-rise twin tower buildings that can accommodate around 8,000 families.
Meanwhile, the City Government will be contributing 20 medium-rise buildings (MRBs) that have the capacity to house around 2,000 families.
According to Librando, the DHSUD’s buildings will be funded through the government’s Pag-Ibig Fund, while the City will be sourcing the funds from its 2023 annual budget wherein it has allocated P26 billion for the construction of MRBs.
Librando added that their office has already started the profiling of the intended beneficiaries of the government’s housing program.
Their initial list came to around 32,000 families composed of those who were displaced due to the City’s river improvement program which includes the demolition of illegal structures encroaching on the three-meter river easement, he said.
“Atoa to silang balikon. Mao man nay problema kay kung dili nato balikon, informal settlers gihapon to sila karon bisag nakadawat sila og financial assistance,” said Librando.
(We will go back to them. If we don’t go back to them, the problem is that they will still be informal settlers even if they have already received financial assistance from us.)
Librando added that they have also included in their list those individuals who were displaced because of calamities like landslides and fire incidents.
Informal settlers facing imminent orders of demolition or eviction from the court are also being identified and considered beneficiaries of the housing program, he further said.
Phase 2 of the project will be in barangays Inayawan, Cogon Pardo, located south of the South Road Properties (SRP), while the third phase of the project will cover barangays Duljo-Fatima and Sawang Calero.
Earlier, Cerwin Eviota, special assistant to Mayor Rama on communications, said Phase 1 of the Scud project covers 30 hectares of the 60-hectare land area across the SRP, of which five hectares will be developed under the DHSUD and the remaining 25 hectares under the Cebu City Government.
The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said the business community views the Scud project as a “positive development” in the city, as once the informal settlers are relocated properly, clearing of the clogged waterways could finally be undertaken.
“Once we have a relocation site developed close to where the affected informal settlers are doing their livelihood, we can clear our waterways and there will be less garbage and less flooding,” said Charles Kenneth Co, president of the CCCI.
Co said the project could also potentially aid in addressing not just housing but also the traffic problem in the city with the planned monorail and bridge projects proposed with Scud.
“The Scud will also improve access to SRP from Inayawan once the bridges and boulevard are completed. This will increase the economic activity around the area and lessen the traffic jam along N. Bacalso Avenue,” Co added. (With EKV)