The Public Safety and Security Office-River Patrol Monitoring Team has demolished almost 200 illegal structures, an official said.

PSSO Head Angel Sumagaysay said that the RPMT, tasked with surveillance, monitoring and demolition of illegal structures, said that most of the demolished structures are located on top of dikes and under bridges.

“Kadaghanan ana sa Talomo kana ganing sa SIR, Davao River halos hurot hurot na na sya tanan. Sa Panacan pud daghan kaayo. Diri sa Bago Gallera naa mi’y ginademolish (Most of these structures are located in Talomo District, at SIR, Davao River, only a few structures remain as almost all of the structures have been demolished. In Panacan too, there are many structures [demolished]. Currently, we are demolishing structures in Bago Gallera),” he said.

Sumagaysay said that the structures are mostly made of light materials but some are made of concrete, which is why it takes them some time to demolish some of them. These structures are extensions of houses, CRs, kitchen, cages of animals. Others even built apartments.

He said that as other informal settlers have already settled in the areas for two decades or more, demolition takes time as these settlers need to find areas to stay. They are usually accommodated by their nearby family members.

According to Sumagaysay, they coordinate with City Social Welfare and Development Office for financial and other forms of support to settlers who have to leave their shelter.

“Usahay mangayo sila’g time makapangita og lugar so dili man pud dayon namo gina-diretso og demolish, muingon kami nga one week, after one week dire-diretso na na (Sometimes they ask for time so we cannot directly demolish and we suggest that we will conduct the demolition after one week and when that time comes the demolition pushes through),” he said.

Sumagaysay said that the demolition of structures on top of dikes and under bridges came as a verbal order by the former Davao City mayor. In line with he said order they properly explain to the public the importance of protecting dikes and bridges.

“Ang dike is para sa tubig, depensa sa mga nearby resident kay once man gud lansangan nimo ang dike, for sure ang integrity ana pag masudlan og tubig maguba gyud, worse ang mahitabo. (Dikes are for the water it is form of protection for nearby residents. Once you construct over a dike or bore holes on it, its integrity weakens and it gets damaged, as water enters, the worse can happen),” Sumagaysay said, adding that many dikes, particularly in Bunawan have already been damaged because of concrete structures built on top of them. This is the reason why the team is really pushing to demolish existing structures as soon as possible.

He said that they always underscore the importance of dikes for flood control.

“Ang purpose ana is protection na siya sa mga flooding, pero nganong ginahimuan na ninyo og balay? Masabtan na nila basta maayo lang ang pagpasabot (The purpose of the dike is for protection from flooding, but why are you building houses there? The residents can understand that as long as it is properly explained to them),” he said. CIO