LUGAIT, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 4 Dec) – One was killed while two others were injured here today when policemen clashed with homeowners whose houses were being demolished on the strength of a Supreme Court order.
The clash, and the ensuing negotiations conducted in the middle of the Cagayan de Oro – Iligan highway, halted traffic, stranding hundreds of commuters.
The highway was eventually reopened late afternoon Wednesday after Gov. Yevgeney Emano negotiated with the court sheriff and police to stand down the demolition of houses in the Achondoa Agro-industrial Corporation here.
Police clashed with homeowners in the morning as the former started tearing down the houses. A total of 240 houses in Barangays Kalangahan and Biga were supposed to be demolished.
One homeowner identified as Nickson Tungao died while undergoing treatment at the Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital in neighboring Iligan City. Emano said two other homeowners were also treated in Iligan City for gunshot wounds.
Police fired tear gas at the homeowners who fought back with stones when demolition teams started to go near their houses.
The demolition order was carried out by Court Sheriff Norberto Labis on the strength of a Supreme Court order denying the petition of the homeowners to the 40-hectare property in Barangays Kalangahan and Biga.
Emano said he asked Sheriff Labis to delay the demolition until he can inspect the relocation site where the affected homeowners would be transferred.
“I have appealed for their compassion and not try to force the demolition,” Emano said.
Gina Lobguban, vice chair of the Alyansa ng mga Biktima sa Demolisyon sa Barangay Kalangahan, said they did not like the relocation site given to them because it is located in the mountains.
“Our families are all fishermen. What will we do for a living in the mountains?” Lobguban said.
Lobguban accused the police of firing the guns that killed Tungao and wounded two of their companions.
Emano said the negotiations will continue Thursday morning.