Muslim residents volunteer to demolish, leave ‘drug den’
By Yolanda Soteo
URDANETA CITY – Muslim families occupying a known drug den in a village here, have volunteered to demolish their houses and leave the area because of the crackdown on illegal drugs, Mayor Amadeo Perez IV said.
DEMOLITION. The Urdaneta police oversee the demolition of houses occupied by Muslim families in barangay Camantiles. The place has been known as a drug den, and the residents volunteered to leave and find placces to stay elsewhere in the city and adjoining towns. (photo courtesy of Urdaneta police station)
More than 100 Muslim families were occupying one and half hectares of the Dona Trining Subdivision, owned by the Perez family, in Barangay Camantiles.
Perez said his father accommodated the Muslims 20 years ago when they asked him where they could stay, with a verbal agreement that they would not construct concrete structure and leave the area after 20 years.
But the existence of the residents with legitimate businesses like selling DVDs, is being compromised because many Muslims engaged in illegal activities usually come and go, he said.
Perez denied a report in another newspaper that he was ejecting the Muslims, and that he did not know the Muslim residents were already demolishing their houses until their head saw him last week to borrow equipment from the city.
“They told me that they were tearing down the houses, most of which were made of concrete, but it was taking them long so they asked for heavy equipment to hasten the demolition,” Perez said.
There were only around 40 families who were left in the place, but would go after a month as they needed to find a place to stay, he said.
Perez said he was not interviewed by the reporter of a daily newspaper who wrote the article that he was driving the Muslims away from the city.
“I did not also announce during a flag ceremony, as was reported by the newspaper, that I was getting ejecting them. The councilors were also surprized by the article as they do not know anything about the issue,” he said.
Perez said after the “questionable” article came out, the Commission on Human Rights and PDEA tropped to his office to verify if he was driving away the Muslims.
“I told them there was nothing to explain as the report was not true,” he said.
Supt. Marciliano Desamito Jr., newly assigned city chief of police, said the “demolition” was very peaceful as it was the house owners themselvess who volunteered to go.
He said the Muslim’s leader whom he identified as Mr. Badron, said those who have nowhere to go would return to Mindanao.
More than 1,000 drug personalities in the city have surrendered to the police, he said.
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