ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Backed by a Supreme Court decision, the city government Wednesday demolished the Zamboanga Barter Goods Retailers Association, Inc. (ZAMBAGORA) building in downtown Zamboanga City.
City Administrator Elias Enriquez, who supervised the demolition, said some 288 stall owners cooperated with the demolition crew. The second phase of the demolition is set on Friday.
Enriquez said the Supreme Court affirmed with finality the orders issued by the Regional Trial Court favoring the city government’s plan to occupy the property. The demolition marked the end of a 10-year legal battle on the property which started way back during the time of the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat, the mother of the current mayor.
“There was no resistance from the occupants, everything went on smoothly,” Enriquez said.
He said the demolition will pave the way for the proposed construction of a multi-level parking building, one of the priority projects under the City Development Strategies.
In 1998, the city government wanted to take over the property for the construction of a fire station. However, due to court litigations initiated by the ZAMBAGORA, the city failed to beat the deadline set by the Bureau of Fire and Protection for the identification of the site.
The funding for the purpose was also reverted by the national government for other purposes due to the delay in the identification of the lot. Erniquez is confident that the proposed project of the city government would push through this time in view of the support and cooperation of the ZAMBAGORA building occupants. (Sheila Covarrubias)