Aleem to barangay officials: where were you during the demolition?

Election watchers of candidates vying for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan positions man a polling station in Barangay 23-C, Davao CIty on 14 May 2018. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 May) – Some barangay officials did not help residents of Barangay 23-C Salmonan, Quezon Boulevard when their homes were demolished last week and only approached them during the campaign for Monday’s election, a Muslim religious leader said.

In an interview Monday, Aleem Mahmod Mala L. Adilao, who assisted the affected residents, said it’s shameful that these leaders did not come to help when the demolition was implemented and only made themselves available later at the evacuation centers.

Adilao, regional chair of the Ulama League of the Philippines said at least 90 evicted families have been staying at a nearby two-story madrasah and others at the unfinished barangay hall. He said other families rented houses.

He asked barangay leaders to ensure the welfare of their constituents when they need help and not only approach them during elections to ask for their votes.

“I feel sorry for those residents because it seemed to me that they were neglected. You should be there to help them because you will not be a leader if you have no followers. For those who understand me, they would listen. All we can do now is to keep on reminding them (of their responsibilities),” he said.

He said the council of elders in their community helped raise fund and asked the Muslims to give support for the families who are still in evacuation centers.

On the first day, he said they raised P72,000 and that they are still accepting donations.

The families were evicted after Tausug Datu Bahajin Marcos Mahadali claimed ownership of the 3,000-square meter lot in Barangay 23-C Salmonan.

But the residents said Mahadali’s transfer certificate title only covers a 1,003-square meter property in Barrio Tugbok, Lianga and not in the property where their houses stood.

Adilao said it was peaceful on the eve of the barangay election, after the local police implemented a 10 p.m. curfew on Sunday, following the gunfight between supporters of incumbent barangay chair Alemudin Usman and Amel Bangsa Mandin at around 7 p.m. on Saturday. Three were injured in the incident.

It was the only election-related violence recorded in Davao Region, as of Saturday. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)